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ESMO Participates in WHO Europe’s Access to Novel Medicines Platform

ESMO is contributing to formulating an approach to a price structure for effective high-cost novel medicines
28 Feb 2023

ESMO was invited by WHO Europe to participate in the consultations to establish an Access to Novel Medicines Platform. The ESMO representative participating in these consultations is Prof. Nathan I. Cherny, MD, Chair of the ESMO-Magnitude of Clinical Benefit Scale Working Group.

ESMO is pleased to participate in the new WHO Europe initiative on establishing an Access to Novel Medicines Platform because we share and endorse WHO’s commitment to the promotion of Universal Health Coverage (UHC), which means that everyone, everywhere, should have access to the health services, when and wherever they need them, without risk of financial hardship. It includes the full range of essential health services, spanning health promotion to prevention, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care. 

ESMO hopes that together with other stakeholders it can contribute to formulating an approach to a price structure that reflects the magnitude of patient benefits (value), ensures ‘reasonable’ profitability, and which ensures ‘adequate’ incentives for research and development, while also being sensitive to the needs of countries with lesser financial resources.

After the first consultation on the WHO Europe Access to Novel Medicines Platform in February 2022, ESMO submitted a statement fully endorsing the four main strategic aims the Platform:

  1. To establish a formal collaboration mechanism to promote dialogue and knowledge exchange between Member States, non-State actors, partners and other stakeholders to identify actions to improve access to effective high-cost novel medicines;
  2. To agree actions to improve the transparency of the markets to build trust, promote collaboration, enable horizon scanning, facilitate accountability and enable corrective actions to be implemented;
  3. To support voluntary collaborations that focus on solidarity to achieve patient access - including horizon scanning, demand aggregation and life cycle management;
  4. To develop methodology, indicators and systems that recognize the need for sustainability of health-care systems and industry, and enable risk sharing and good governance of the market.

To facilitate the consultation process, ESMO proposed to build on some of the constructive suggestions proposed by other actors in this crucial sector: 

  1. A conceptual framework for Equity Based Tiered Pricing (EBTP), to ensure that ability to pay across countries is considered in the prices of innovative medicines, anchored in a principle of solidarity between countries, to reduce unavailability of new medicines and access delays.
  2. Novel payment and pricing models, when used appropriately and tailored to the situation, can accelerate patient access, allowing payers to manage clinical uncertainty, budget impact and sustainability of the healthcare system, whilst providing sufficient incentives for innovation.

The ESMO statement ended by ESMO expressing that it looks forward to being an active participant in the development of this important project on access to medicines.

The WHO Europe Access to Novel Medicines Platform is the outcome of the WHO Europe Oslo Medicines Initiative to which in 2021 ESMO provided recommendations, and highlighted ESMO resources that can support WHO Member States in addressing issues that affect access to effective, novel, high-priced medicines and health products:

  • Harmonise the standard of cancer care, including implementation of guidelines such as the ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines
  • Prioritise cancer medicines with the highest magnitude of clinical benefit, which can be supported by tools like the ESMO-MCBS
  • Determine the appropriate use of biosimilars. ESMO’s position is published in the ESMO Position Paper on Biosimilars
  • Harmonise the Health Technology Assessment process at the EU level, including the use of cancer medicines as a pilot for joint clinical assessments
  • Address issues related to the availability of cancer medicines to patients. ESMO’s data collection on the topic has been published in the ESMO Availability of Antineoplastic Medicines Studies
  • Promote multistakeholder collaboration to implement the Oslo Medicines Initiative

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