EU Vote Spells Progress for Patients and Coordinated Health Technology Assessment (HTA)
Brussels, 20 January 2011
EuropaBio welcomed yesterday’s landmark vote in the European Parliament in favour of the EU Cross-border Healthcare Directive.
The adoption of the Directive represents an important milestone on the journey towards enabling patients to receive medical treatment regardless of their country of residence in the EU. In addition, the Directive creates a sound legal basis upon which crucial cooperation on Health Technology Assessment in the member states can be built.
The Directive will also provide new opportunities for patients who need special treatments and particularly for patients affected by rare diseases. Because of the rare nature of these diseases, diagnosis and treatments are often only available in a limited number of countries. This new Directive will provide a framework for rare disease patients to potentially access the most advanced treatments available.
Commenting on the development, EuropaBio Chairman, Andrea Rappagliosi, said "This marks real progress towards the development of truly patient-centred healthcare systems. We are encouraged by the compromise on HTA that the Directive provides and by the advance it makes towards establish a robust and participative framework governed by transparency. We are hopeful that this should help to ensure that more patients benefit in the long-term from healthcare biotech innovations while ensuring health systems get value for money”
As advocated in the recently published 2011-2012 EuropaBio Healthcare Manifesto, HTA evaluations have a potentially critical impact on patient access to treatment and on the rate of innovation availability when used as a tool of cost-containment policy in healthcare. EuropaBio and its members believe that rewards for innovation should be appropriately and fairly granted based on holistic assessments of new and existing technologies. Such assessment should acknowledge key elements such as value to society as well as to the economy, ethical views of disease management, impact on productivity and quality of life, and value to both the patients and the community.
Head of EuropaBio’s Task Force on HTA, Rasmus Jensen, added: “With today's vote the work currently undertaken by EUnetHTA becomes further integrated into EU law. This places even greater importance on the need for full stakeholder participation and openness throughout the processes. As a result we firmly believe that the stakeholder forum of EUnetHTA should be expanded to include all stakeholders in order to reflect the increased emphasis that today's vote placed on HTA collaboration among member states.”
EuropaBio Healthcare Council Chairman, Thomas Bols, concluded: “HTA should be an important tool in encouraging the development of new and innovative therapies for the benefit of patients, whilst allowing healthcare planners to appropriately fund and manage resources effectively in these financially turbulent times. We welcome this significant step forward in this process and look forward to working together with all other stakeholders to help achieve this important outcome.”
- To download a copy of EuropaBio’s 2011-2012 Healthcare Manifesto, please click here
- To read the text on patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare adopted in EP plenary please click here
For further information please contact:
EuropaBio is the European Association for Bioindustries, bringing together bioscience companies from all fields of research and development, testing, manufacturing and distribution of biotechnology products. It has 66 corporate and 7 associated members, 4 BioRegions and 22 National Biotechnology Associations representing some 1800 small and medium sized enterprises. www.europabio.org