EUROPEAN COMMISSION EXPERT PANEL ON EFFECTIVE WAYS OF INVESTING IN HEALTH
Access to health
services in the European Union
approved this opinion for public consultation
by written procedure on 25 September, 2015
Public Consultation is open until November 8th, 2015
Expert Panel members
Margaret Barry, Helmut Brand, Werner Brouwer,
Jan De Maeseneer
Bengt Jönsson (Vice
MEDICINES: p. 71 to 81 that includes this reference and the below recommendations.
The current system of funding R&D through medicine prices encourages
pharmaceutical companies to focus on areas likely to be most
profitable for them rather than areas in which there is unmet need.
The European Union could, however, find more effective ways of funding
R&D to meet health needs (Bloemen and Hammerstein 2012). An interesting line
of development would be to de-link prices and R&D costs (WHO 2012a; WHO
2012b). In 2010, Council Conclusions on the EU’s role in global health asked
Member Sates to explore this option and to ensure that EU investments in health
research secure access to the knowledge and tools generated as a global public
good and generate socially essential medical products at affordable prices.
The European Union can support
Member States in the following ways:
Promote joint action to develop a
strategy to ensure equitable access to new
medicines and new innovative treatments and fairer prices.
Promote transparency to ensure that patents serve the social purpose for which
they were created. This requires detailed knowledge of costs and prices. Wthout this information there is a risk of patent misuse.
Evaluate the possibility of
withdrawing patents in cases of misuse.
Consider setting up a European Parliament committee to analyse the prices of new
medicines. The committee should be guaranteed transparency around costs and prices.
Review the impact of the Supplementary Protection Certificate in ensuring access
to medicines (De Boer 2015).
Link products that have benefited from EU funds such as Horizon 2020 to socially
Explore models to separate the cost of R&D from prices (Council Conclusions May
10, 2010) and extend these to EU countries (not just low
Evaluate and promote the use of joint procurement mechanisms.
Decouple the financing of EU regulator
y agencies (the European Medicines Agency,
EMA) from the pharmaceutical industry. Currently, 83% of the EMA’s budget comes
from the industry via authorisation fees).
Introduce stricter control over conflicts of