Brussels, 5 June 2018
In a meeting held in the European Parliament on 5 June, the Patient Access Partnership (PACT) welcomed the Commission’s proposal regarding the future of EU cooperation on HTA and its potential to improve access to innovative health technologies for patients across the EU. This meeting, hosted by the Parliament’s Interest Group on Patient Access to Healthcare, aimed to gather health stakeholders’ perspectives on this proposal before the consideration of the Parliament’s draft report in the ENVI Committee on 7 June.
The event, jointly chaired by the Co-Chairs of the Interest Group on Access to Healthcare and PACT’s Secretary-General Stanimir Hasardzhiev, was attended by all Interest Group’s co-chairs and some 100 key health stakeholders.
Speaking in the event, DG SANTE’s Anna-Eva Ampelas presented the proposed HTA Regulation, underlining that better cooperation can result in effective, innovative health tools reaching patients faster as ‘this initiative will lead to a better and more effective use of Member States’ resources, exchange of expertise and will avoid duplication of efforts’.
Representing the current and upcoming EU Presidencies, Prof. Ilko Getov (Bulgarian Ministry of Health, HTA Committee Chair) and Philipp Tillich (Health Attaché, Permanent Representation of Austria to the EU) both underlined the sensitive nature of the Commission proposal. While the need for a more formal cooperation on HTA is clearly recognised after 28 years of voluntary cooperation, there are elements in the proposal – e.g. the fact that cooperation will be mandatory – that will need careful deliberation and discussion. However, both representatives expressed their country’s intention to find positive solutions.
European Parliament Rapporteur Soledad Cabezon Ruiz (S&D, Spain) welcomed the Commission’s proposal as ‘timely’ and underlined its added value as ‘it represents a further step towards closer EU integration in the health arena’. She argued that ‘Europe needs more and better clinical evidence, to determine the efficacy and therapeutic advantage of medicines…any policies regulating health and healthcare provision must have the aim of guaranteeing access to medicines for patients’. Trust, quality and scientific evidence are key concepts if European cooperation in the field of HTA is to be a success.
Kaisa Immonen, speaking on behalf of the European Patients’ Forum, underlined EPF’s commitment to work closely with the European legislators ‘towards a sustainable European framework for HTA where patients are actively and meaningfully involved as partners and which ensures timely and equitable access for patients to medical technologies that add value and improve their lives’.
François Houÿez, representing EURORDIS, also welcomed the Regulation, as ‘it will help patients across the EU to know on which scientific grounds health technologies are reimbursed or not’. He also emphasised the need for meaningful and equitable involvement of patients in the HTA process and governing bodies.
MEPs present emphasised the need for cooperation in the field of HTA; the current fragmented situation, with different methodologies, timelines and conclusions needs to be amended as a matter of urgency. They welcomed the Commission proposal as it has ‘the clear potential to address health inequalities and ensure better health outcomes’.
Stakeholders intervening in the audience debate generally welcomed the Commission′s proposal, emphasising the need to address the current fragmented situation and pooling of precious resources. Remarks were made about the need to include a sense of proportionality when referring to medical devices and to include stakeholders in the ongoing deliberations, also at Council level.
To download the report from the event, please click here.