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Experts recommend reviewing drug reimbursement system

The study, which involved more than 30 experts from different health fields, resulted in the development of 43 recommendations in areas such as governance, financing, human resources, medicines and other technologies, supply healthcare, population health and environmental sustainability.

In the field of drugs, experts consider that the drug reimbursement system includes "many additions and exceptions, in the form of deliberations, decrees and prescriptions", resulting in a "fragmented system, which does not favor the 'equity of access', an example of which is the expenditure of the Portuguese on medicines.

In addition to recommending a review of the reimbursement system, the experts also suggest improving equitable access to innovative medicines, considering that it is necessary to “move towards a more efficient regulatory framework”.

"Development and access to innovation have proven to be a time-consuming and bureaucratic process and it is necessary to respond to situations of great inequality of access to new medicines in Europe", they point out.

As part of the new pharmaceutical strategy for Europe, to overcome these delays in access, they defend the need for “a stable regulatory structure, but also adaptable, fast, efficient and competitive at the global level”.

"This translates into the adoption of concrete, transparent and measurable measures that result from a partnership between the pharmaceutical industry, the Member States, the institutions of the European Union and, in Portugal, the Portuguese government", suggest- them, highlighting the need for new approaches and payment models to fund new drugs.

They also say that "it is necessary to come to an understanding of the causes of delays and barriers to access, given the economic conditions of the countries", to find "collaborative solutions" which guarantee that patients are treated, in all European countries, with the best therapeutic solutions adapted to your state of health.

Experts also recommend that the adoption of new technologies be based on evidence-based medicine, emphasizing the need to focus on patient groups where gains can be seen and "stop using treatments with reduced efficacy". ".

They suggest encouraging the use of technologies on the basis of recognized cost-effectiveness, abandoning alternatives based exclusively on low prices, which “may not be those that generate the best results”.

For the panel of specialists, it is also necessary to guarantee proximity in terms of access to hospital medicines through home delivery or access to the nearest pharmacy, as is already the case in certain situations.

“During the pandemic, 'Operation Green Light' was presented as a transitional measure that should be continued. This measure has been of great added value for the health user with undeniable gains not only in terms of health, avoiding the interruption of therapy due to the difficulty of accessing it, but in time, it made it possible to save on travel expenses and to avoid absenteeism at work”, they recall.

The recommendations also include promoting Portugal as "a great center of excellence for biomedical innovation and clinical research", noting that clinical trials "allow free access to medicines, allow early access to innovation, the production of essential knowledge for the progress of clinical practice", in addition to contributing to the strengthening of the qualifications of health professionals and the improvement of care.

The work was carried out as part of the Partnership for Health Systems Sustainability and Resilience (PHSSR), a global collaboration established in 2020 by the London School of Economics and Political Science, the World Economic Forum and AstraZeneca.

SW // ZO

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