The benefits of working together
From the start, the Beneluxa Initiative has had a pragmatic goal. We investigate how working together on pharmaceutical policy can be formalized and we examine the effects of collaboration for the countries involved. A successful collaboration will enable participating countries to improve long-term access to innovative drugs at affordable costs, while providing clear benefits to all stakeholders.
One of our essential instruments is ‘horizon scanning’. We find out which pharmaceutical products are about to come to the market, because anticipating on new products is of major importance to the stakeholders.
The patient is at the heart of the collaborative approach of the Beneluxa. All our patients should benefit from the earliest possible access to medicines. Patients can be assured that this can be achieved through collaboration, with clear information on how and when new products are available to them. Also, our efforts on joint Health Technology Assessment aim at offering patients clear insight in the added value of new products (or lack thereof).
Furthermore, a sustainable balance between payers and pharmaceutical companies is crucial for tomorrow’s patients. By improving the payer’s market power, we will be able to improve the long-term affordability of pharmaceutical care and, at the same time, stimulate innovation.
Our cooperation also aims to minimize procedural hurdles for the pharmaceutical industry, with clear and predictable procedures. For example, in certain cases it will be possible to follow one single procedure for both Health Technology Assessments and negotiations on reimbursement conditions. Our joint Horizon Scanning Initiative makes it possible to communicate with Industry at an early stage. This improves predictable procedures and efficient timelines.
On a national level, the results of the joint Horizon Scanning Initiative allow prescribers to draft medical guidelines at an early stage. Ultimately, their opinion on the value of these new products can be of value in price negotiations on new products.
During the current pilot phase, the participants have analyzed the national possibilities and limitations on collaboration. Where necessary, individual countries are changing their national policies and/or legislation. Together with efforts to streamline national procedures on Health Technology Assessment and on pricing decisions, this paves the way for collaboration.
Health Technology Assessment
Our goal is to perform several joint Health Technology Assessment procedures per year. For example:
- Joint assessments of products and sharing the workload between different national HTA bodies
- Expert referencing, where one HTA body provides an expert review on another HTA body
- Mutual recognition of Assessments
Horizon scanning will improve national decision making on pricing and reimbursement. It identifies products that might have a large impact on our health systems, whether positive or negative.
Therefore one of the first priorities of the Beneluxa initiative on Pharmaceutical Policy was to start a shared Horizon Scanning platform.
The Belgian Health Care Knowledge Centre (KCE) published a study on Horizon scanning, that underlines the importance of a broad cooperation. So we want to involve as many countries as possible in the new International Horizon Scanning Initiative (IHSI), to be operational in 2022 (see link to IHSI).
The outline of the new Initiative was introduced on June 27, 2017. Many EU-member states and several non-EU countries were present at the introduction, as well as representatives of the European Commission, the OECD and the WHO.
Collaboration on Pricing and Reimbursement
Collaboration on price negotiations will improve our strategic position towards the industry. Joint negotiations and sharing information will allow a more consistent approach to market developments.
Pilots on managed entry agreements are currently ongoing. Many of the companies involved in these pilots have requested discretion on their participation until the pilots are finalized.
For example, a pilot was concluded on the pricing and reimbursement of Orkambi, a treatment for cystic fybrosis. In this case the Belgian and Dutch HTA bodies worked together with the payers.
You can read the press release here.