The European Commission has launched various initiatives to ensure that pricing and reimbursement systems across the EU are closely linked to the realisation of EU policy objectives. These initiatives help guarantee the smooth functioning of the Internal Market, competitiveness in the pharmaceutical industry, sustainable research and development, and the protection of human health.
In 2001, the Commission created the High Level Group on Innovation and the Provision of Medicines, then called G-10 Medicines. This Group consisted of ten private and governmental health stakeholders from Europe who were selected by the Commission to reflect a broad array of interests.
It explored different ways of enhancing the competitiveness of the pharmaceutical industry in Europe without negatively affecting the affordable delivery of healthcare services. Three broad areas of study were taken into account: innovation; the provision of medicines to patients; and the market structure in Europe, competition, and regulation.
The Pharmaceutical Forum was set up in 2005 to find solutions to public health issues regarding pharmaceuticals, while also ensuring competitiveness and the sustainability of national healthcare systems. Running until 2008, it was a high-level ministerial platform for discussions between EU countries, EU institutions, industry, healthcare professionals, patients, and insurance funds.
The Forum included three working groups focused on three main topics: information to patients on diseases and treatment options; pricing and reimbursement policy; and relative effectiveness. These Working Groups were composed of representatives from EU countries and other stakeholders.
The Pharmaceutical Forum’s Working Group on Information to Patients was set up to advise the Commission on ways to improve the quality and access to information on authorised medicines and related health issues. It focused on disease information, the dissemination of information, and the availability of supporting information in places like pharmacies and hospitals.
The Pharmaceutical Forum’s Working Group on Pricing and Reimbursement was set up to examine pricing and reimbursement mechanisms in support of EU countries’ commitment to fulfil their G10 recommendations, as well as public health objectives aimed at providing equal access to medicines at an affordable cost.
The Pharmaceutical Forum’s Working Group on Relative Effectiveness aimed to assist EU countries in applying relative effectiveness assessment systems that can contain pharmaceutical costs while also offering a fair reward for innovation. The outcome of relative effectiveness assessments is promising as they will help allow identify the most valuable medicines, both in terms of clinical efficiency and cost-effectiveness, and will help set a fair price for these medicines.