The Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) is an international organization that promotes policies to improve the economic and social well-being of people. It is composed of 35 countries across the world. The OECD makes recommendations to governments in various policy topics. For that purpose, it has an important task of collecting data and monitoring developments in every country.
The OECD adopted in September 2016 an initiative “to promote dialogue on access to innovative pharmaceuticals”. The OECD acknowledges the difficulties in access to pharmaceuticals and sustainability of the health spending, particularly in oncology and rare diseases. Within this initiative, the OECD will convene a high-level expert group to reflect on innovative options to pay for new medicines, patient access to innovative treatments, sustainability of health spending, and continued innovation that meets patient needs.
With the open consultation on ‘Sustainable Access to Innovative Therapies’, the OECD wanted to gather diverse experiences and ideas to identify issues with the current system and to understand which topics are of most importance to stakeholders.
ECPC contributed to the consultation, providing the views of cancer patients, with a position building upon all the previous ECPC policy work – namely, regarding to disparities, value of innovation, and other advocacy topics.
In its response, ECPC highlighted the increasing inequalities in Europe with regards to the access to cancer care, including to medicines.
ECPC identified, as three key issues to address in order to ensure access to medicines, the following:
- Harmonization of Health Technology Assessments, including increased transparency;
- Support to fast-track approvals of medicines, providing transparency and ensuring safety;
- Adoption of new pay-for-outcome schemes for pricing, which depends on the introduction of proper eHealth systems to collect real world, patient-reported data.
Moreover, ECPC insisted that the issue of access and sustainability is not only about medicines, but about all the direct costs of cancer. Therefore, it is essential to evaluate the performance of health system as a whole, to identify inefficiencies and waste that can otherwise be redirected to more effective care.