Pharmaceuticals have undoubtedly contributed to improvements in life expectancy and quality of life of many patients. Medicines can cure, relieve symptoms, delay the onset of disease and prevent complications. They often offer good value for money. Recent trends, however, raise a number of concerns. The launch prices of new drugs have been soaring in some therapeutic categories, sometimes without commensurate health gains. At the same time, new effective medicines are not always affordable to all patients who need them and put a high pressure on health care budgets. Such trends raise questions about incentives at work in the pharmaceutical sector and the sustainability of current pricing models.
Pharmaceutical spending accounts for approximately 20 percent of total health spending in OECD countries when taking into account medicines dispensed in both outpatient and inpatient settings of care. Recent developments in the pharmaceutical market and spending raise concerns for the future:
OECD Health Committee delegates have recognised the growing importance of sustainability in pharmaceutical access, and convened expert workshops in 2015 and 2016 to discuss good practice to address the issue. OECD also frequently works with its Business and Industry Advisory Committee to envision an innovation model that meets the needs of all health stakeholders.
Sustainable access to innovative THERAPIES - Overview of the project
The French Minister of Health has asked the OECD to act as the Secretariat for a new initiative to promote an international and high-level dialogue between stakeholders on access to innovative pharmaceuticals and sustainability of pharmaceutical spending. The initiative was endorsed by OECD member countries and by Health Ministers at the G7 Health Ministerial meeting in Kobe, on 11-12 September 2016.
In this capacity, the OECD will:
The prospective study focuses on therapeutic areas where new medicines are very costly and/or have a high budget impact for health systems: oncology, rare diseases, HIV, Hepatitis C, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease. The overall objective is to improve patient access to innovative treatments and ensure the sustainability of health spending as well as continued innovation that meets patient needs.
Thirteen countries have agreed to actively contribute information and data to the prospective study: Belgium, Chile, Colombia (OECD candidate country), France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The online consultation has now ended, and a consultation meeting for civil society to contribute their views on sustainable access to innovative therapies was held in Paris on 20 June 2017.
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