SFEE and Patient Associations Meeting: The European medicines strategy should support innovation and patient access. Gradual improvement of funding in Greece is imperative.
In the framework of regular briefings of the Hellenic Association of Pharmaceutical Companies (SFEE) to representatives of patient associations, an information meeting was held at a central Athens hotel, on Monday, November 7, 2022, where the main quest of all, for the creation of a sustainable, patient-centric public health system was put on the spotlight. That meeting was attended by the SFEE executives, representatives of the SFEE member companies, and patient associations.
The SFEE representatives referred to the developments in the European and Greek pharmaceutical policy, presented the EFPIA study on the Patients’ Waiting to Access Innovative Therapies (Patients W.A.I.T. Survey), the EFPIA/IQVIA review of pharmaceutical products in the pipeline, as well as the European Strategy on Medicines, and discussion was held on various topical issues, such as medicines shortages. Finally, the curve of pharmaceutical expenditure in Greece was also discussed, as well as the threat to the viability of the sector due to the steep increase of compulsory refunds burdening the pharmaceutical industry.
At a time when more than 8,000 new molecules are currently in the pipeline worldwide, this proving the huge scientific work effected, the question arises spontaneously whether and to what extent Greece is prepared to receive as many of these molecules as will eventually hit the market. The future treatment options for many diseases will offer better therapeutic outcomes and less side-effects. According to data of a recent EFPIA/IQVIA survey, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) granted in 2021 marketing licenses to 92 medicines, of which 54 were new active substances, i.e., a 30% increase in the number of new active substances approved, in relation to 2020.
Innovation is pointless unless it reaches patients, therefore we must be concerned on how we create the right conditions for innovation. The gradual improvement of the medicines funding is imperative, as well as the rational prescription of existing and future treatments.
As far as the representatives of patient associations were concerned, they brought to light the multiple problems of people with chronic diseases, their concerns on the medicines shortages as well as their access to new therapies.
During that meeting, finally, both the representatives of patients’ associations and the pharmaceutical industry pointed out that it is necessary to have an on-going exchange of views and ideas and strengthen the interactive communication channels.