Strategic procurement of innovative medicines is a growing area of interest across Europe, reflecting growing budgetary pressures linked to healthcare system financial sustainability and concerns about value of new health interventions. As the demand for innovative medicines in Europe continues to rise given increased patient expectations, demographic changes and unmet needs, concerns about affordability – particularly due to the high cost of new therapies – remain high on the policy agenda of most healthcare systems. Proactive country collaboration in this area, including countries with smaller populations that, strictly speaking, have limited power to negotiate with industry effectively, may facilitate access to new medicines.
As Governments focus on improving healthcare accessibility, quality, and safety through health system efficiency, access to medicines also depends on good procurement practices. For these practices to be effective, the strength of national drug regulations and taxation policies as well as the security of pharmacovigilance systems and supply chains are imperative.
Conducting negotiations with pharmaceutical companies to secure affordable prices of patented medicines through public procurement is an important skillset for member states. Importantly, to facilitate collective negotiation mechanisms, comprehensive pricing policies, transparent procurement processes, and greater generics / biosimilar competition, strong negotiation skills and a structured approach to inter-country collaboration are required. Currently there is limited experience within Europe on common procurement of medicines.
LSE Health - Medical Technology Research Group (MTRG) – in collaboration with the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe (WHO Europe) – has successfully completed the second training workshop on ‘Negotiation for Medicines Strategic Procurement’ in Copenhagen on 20-22 February 2018. Led by Dr Panos Kanavos and co-facilitated by Dr Aris Angelis and Mr Mackenzie Mills, the workshop was attended by senior decision makers from 19 Member States of the WHO European region and the European Commission.
The workshop aimed to build practical skills in preparing and conducting negotiations, understand the obstacles faced by countries in conducting negotiations to provide access to new medicines, maintain a competitive supply environment and manage the entry of new products as well as generics and biosimilars. The workshop content, jointly developed by LSE and WHO Europe, combined negotiation theory, practical exercises and realistic case studies in therapeutic areas of concern to participants.
This was the second workshop on Negotiations following the success of the first workshop on 27-29 September 2017. In total, 72 high level civil servants participated from government departments responsible for medicines procurement across 28 countries: Armenia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Scotland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Ukraine.
The successful completion of the first workshop was included in the 2017 Annual Report of Health Technologies and Pharmaceutical (HTP) Programme of the WHO which can be found here (on page 15).