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Hit hard by austerity, the health systems of EU member states are under huge pressure. Combined with an aging population and the alarming burden of chronic illnesses, EU member states have targeted specific aspects of the incentives granted to the pharma industry in order to decrease drug prices.
In June 2016 particularly, EU health ministers called on the European Commission to perform an overview of the current EU legislative tools and incentives that aim to facilitate investment in the development of medicinal products.
On the other hand, many suggest that such an approach would have detrimental consequences for innovation in the pharma sector. Experts claim that policymakers should instead focus on other healthcare fields to save costs, considering that pharmaceutical expenditure has remained stable over recent years.
Backing innovation in the pharmaceutical market and developing new evidence-based economic models is the only way forward for future healthcare, according to EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis.
As long as the political will exists, a coalition of EU member states can speed up the healthcare data mobility in Europe and start showing results in a cross-border manner in order for others to join, an Estonian government official told EURACTIV.
Organisations of patients with rare diseases have warned EU policymakers to “think carefully” before reviewing the incentives in the orphan drugs regulation, claiming that the pharma industry should not be discouraged from investing in new therapies.
“Salami-slicing” the cost of medicines, which represent almost one-fifth of health system budgets and are subject to rigorous value assessments, won’t make healthcare systems more sustainable in the future, Nathalie Moll told EURACTIV.com in an interview.
The European Commission launched on Thursday (12 October) a public consultation on supplementary protection certificates for pharmaceutical products and the so-called Bolar patent research exemption.