On 2 March 2017, the European Parliament’s plenary session issued recommendations for improving access to medicines in Europe (see also: Members of the European Parliament discuss how to improve access to medicines). In a non-legislative resolution, MEPs have called on the Council and the EU Commission to strengthen the negotiating power of Member States when dealing with the pharmaceutical industry in order to better ensure affordable access to medicines across the entire EU. It must be ensured that decisions on pricing and reimbursement for generic and biosimilar medicines are made faster.
Focus on Health Technology Assessment
Germany’s statutory health insurance is particularly concerned that MEPs are calling on the EU Commission to propose legislation for a European system for Health Technology Assessment (HTA) as quickly as possible. According to the recommendations, compulsory assessments of relative effectiveness at EU level should be introduced as the first step to approving new medicines and a European system of assessing the added therapeutic value of medicine should be established.
As part of the EU Commission’s public consultation on strengthening EU cooperation on HTA, the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds (GKV-Spitzenverband) submitted comments calling for voluntary cooperation in the area of HTA and voluntary use of the results from this cooperation. There are significant differences between EU Member States with regard to assessment procedures and therefore also between the results. The GKV-Spitzenverband is of the opinion that these differences must be accepted because they reflect national preferences, social conditions and specificities of the health systems.
The European Parliament’s resolution can be viewed online here.