On 29 October 2019, nine European governments launched the International Horizon Scanning Initiative to strengthen their power to negotiate medicine prices with the pharmaceutical industry.
The initiative entails the creation of a central transparent database containing information on new medicines and medicines under development, which should inform governments’ decisions on pricing and reimbursement.
The IHSI is formed by nine European countries including Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland that will share, through a common database, information on the pricing of innovative medicines and medicines under development.
The Members of the IHSI expect that a common database will allow them to better assess the impact of potentially expensive medicines. It will collect data from different source , including clinical studies, scientific literature as well as financial data from companies and investors from the pharmaceutical sector. The development of the database and cross-border knowledge aims at empowering the participating countries in national and international price negotiations with the industry.
The IHSI launch implies the start of a new international partnership between European governments on medicines prices. This initiative reflects the political will to wield bargaining power in price negotiations with the pharmaceutical industry.
The success of the IHSI is contrasting with the lack of endeavour from European Member States, unable to find a common position on the European Regulation on Health Technology Assessment (HTA) presented by the European Commission in January 2018, with the aim to strengthen EU-level cooperation for assessing health technologies including new medicines and certain medical devices.
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