Pharmaceutical Pricing: The Many Faces of Fairness

Panel Seeks To Define “Fair” Pharmaceutical Pricing

 Barcelona, Spain—13 November 2018—ISPOR, the professional society for health economics and outcomes research, held its second plenary of ISPOR Europe 2018 this morning. The timely session, “Pharmaceutical Pricing: The Many Faces of Fairness,” sought to define “fair” in the context of pharmaceutical pricing.

Sarah Garner, PhD, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland moderated the panel discussion. The World Health Organization (WHO) convened the first Fair Pricing Forum in 2017 to focus global attention on high pharmaceutical prices that restrict access to essential patented medicines and on the unpredictability of low prices that can drive shortages in the generics sector. At this forum, stakeholders identified the need for a fairer system that is sustainable for health systems, investors, and the pharmaceutical industry.

  • Eric Low, OBE, Amyloidosis Research Consortium, East Lothian, Scotland, UK pointed out that while the current system of pricing works through discounting, better research will provide better evidence to help solve pricing issues. He also believes that it is important for countries to do fair and consistent evaluation of pharmaceuticals.
  • Joep Muijrers, PhD, PureTech Health, Boston, MA, USA represented the investor’s perspective. He pointed out that “whether you ‘like’ investors or not,” investors contribute significantly to pharmaceutical innovation. Dr. Muijrers noted that investors are known for “being demanding” regarding results for their investments and that we should look at how investors can become more involved in bringing that approach to benefit patients. He also believes that we should not be afraid to reward for true value.
  • Kevin Haninger, PhD, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, Washington, DC, USA, who represented the industry view, spoke about the importance of value-driven thinking. He focused on identifying the value that medications bring to patients and believes that no patient should have to worry about access to drugs.
  • Lluis Sauri-Romero, European Commission, Brussels, Belgium spoke about how efficient markets can deliver value to patients. He discussed how competition is essential for efficiency in markets and how competition can also deliver lower prices.
  • Tanya Potashnik, MA, Patented Medicine Prices Review Board, Government of Canada, Ottawa, Canada pointed out that the issue of medication affordability is now a challenge for all countries—high-income countries as well as medium- and low-income countries. She believes that value-based pricing is important, but that it alone is not sufficient in determining affordability.
  • Marcin Czech, PhD, MD, MBA, Polish Ministry of Health, Warsaw, Poland asked the question, “what is ‘fair’?”. He noted that the definition of fair pricing varies from high- to middle- and low-income countries. He also pointed out that the definition of fair pricing will vary depending upon your perspective (eg, perspective varies for payers, governments, manufacturers, patients, etc).

In summarizing the session, Dr Garner noted that we still have work to do to achieve fairness in pharmaceutical pricing. She also sees ISPOR playing a key role by continuing to facilitate discussions on this important issue.

ISPOR is recognized globally as the leading professional society in HEOR and its role in improving healthcare decisions. ISPOR Europe 2018 is the leading HEOR conference in Europe and draws more than 5000 healthcare stakeholders, including researchers and academicians, assessors and regulators, payers and policy makers, the life sciences industry, and patient engagement organizations.

Additional information on ISPOR Europe 2018 can be found here. Released presentations from the conference can be found here. Interested parties can follow news and developments from the conference on social media using the hashtag #ISPORBarcelona.

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