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Increasing access to biosimilars and generics in Europe Posted 14/04/2017

On 2 March 2017, the European Parliament voted on a resolution to strike a better balance between European Union (EU) countries’ public health interests and those of the pharmaceutical industry.

The resolution on ‘Options for improving access to medicines’ places generic, biosimilar and value added medicines at the heart of the debate on access to medicines. It also calls for measures to improve the traceability of R & D costs, public funding and marketing expenditure. The resolution text was approved by 568 votes to 30, with 52 abstentions.

Specifically the resolution calls for Member States to encourage competition from generics and biosimilars by removing barriers and adopting uptake measures, and introduces the first steps in the right direction by recognizing the importance of value-added medicines innovation in the off-patent sector for patients.

Members of the European Parliament say that the high level of public funds used for R & D is not reflected in the pricing of medicines, impeding a fair return on public investment. They have also called on the European Council and European Commission (EC) to strengthen the negotiating capacity of Member States in order to ensure affordable access to medicines across the EU.

Medicines for Europe welcomed the adoption of the resolution text. Adrian van den Hoven, Medicines for Europe Director General, urged the Commission and Member States ‘to take action to ensure that these proposals are translated into real support measures for generic, biosimilar and value added medicines, allowing all patients across Europe to get access to the treatment they need’.

Since 2010, a multi-stakeholder dialogue and cooperation at European level has been put in place under the Process on Corporate Responsibility/Access to Medicines in Europe. This initiative includes a Working Group on Market Access to and Uptake of Biosimilar Medicinal Products, which aims to encourage timely access to biosimilars in Europe. As part of this, the EC held its second Multi-stakeholder Workshop on Biosimilar Medicinal Products in Brussels, Belgium on 20 June 2016 [1].

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1. GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. EC workshop on biosimilars aims to improve uptake [www.gabionline.net]. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2017 Apr 14]. Available from: www.gabionline.net/Reports/EC-workshop-on-biosimilars-aims-to-improve-uptake

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Source: Europarl, Medicines for Europe

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