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EPF calls on EU Member States to put patients first and make progress on HTA negotiations

The European Patients’ Forum, the European-level umbrella patients’ organisation representing 72 patient groups across Europe from all chronic disease-areas, calls on the EU Member States to advance the dialogue on the European Commission’s proposal in the upcoming Council meeting.

We ask that Member States set aside legal debates about Article 8 and instead focus on what matters for European patients and citizens: achieving a European-level HTA framework that is effective, efficient and patient-centred and builds on the achievements between national authorities to date.

EPF believes the uptake of joint work in national assessments is important, as otherwise there will be no progress or public health added value beyond the current status quo of voluntary collaboration already achieved through EUnetHTA. However, we believe that through constructive dialogue it will be possible to agree on a solution that both ensures the integration of joint assessments in national assessments without duplicating, and still gives each Member State the possibility to address national specificities. Several proposals have already been put forward by various stakeholders and by the European Parliament.

EPF calls on those Member States with highly developed national HTA systems to take a leadership role in developing the proposal, so that Member States at a more formative stage can benefit and joint work at European level will be of the highest quality. This is in the interests of patients, healthcare systems and society.

The proposal as it stands today is not perfect – several crucial aspects can be improved, including patient involvement, methodologies and governance. But as a whole the Commission’s proposal has the strong support of the pan-European patient community. In our view, this is an area where European collaboration can truly demonstrate the sought-after “clear EU added value”.

We appreciate the difficulty in developing a solution that will be acceptable to all Member States. Nevertheless, we urge the Council to take a long-term view, considering the needs of their people first and foremost. The proposal is, at its core, about people – patients, who need more equitable access to healthcare that is of high quality.

Engaging in meaningful dialogue with health stakeholders will be key to success. EPF is committed to being a strong and constructive partner in the legislative process and continuing our reflections with the EU Institutions, the patient community and other stakeholders.