The Malta Independent 22 July 2019, Monday

Valletta Declaration tackling medicine price transparency issue

Giulia Magri Friday, 12 July 2019, 15:57 Last update: about 10 days ago

Valletta Group, made out of 10 EU countries, came together to fight and ensure there is sustainable pricing of new medicines coming out on the market, Health Minister Chris Fearne said on Friday.

The 10 EU countries, Malta, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Romania, Portugal, Slovenia and Croatia, which represent some 160 million citizens, came together in 2017 and signed the Valletta Declaration which is aimed at lobbying big pharmaceutical companies for better prices on bulk purchases of public pharmaceuticals.

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“Our aim is to provide the best healthcare to all citizens and to provide accessibility to the latest services and medicines which we can provide across our country.”

He explained that, whilst he wishes to continue encouraging innovative treatments, there should be full transparency on the price of new medicines so that they will be available and affordable for eall citizens.

“Cutting edge medicines were being bought at €120,000 per treatment in one country and at up to €800,000 in another,” he added. He explained that Friday’s ministerial meeting gave the committee the opportunity to look into the issue of transparency of medicinal pricing, so as to allow different member states to have access to different pricing agreements between different pharmaceutical companies.

“This has been an area which has been shoved into secrecy and contracts between pharmaceutical companies and member states have all had clauses included whereby it is not allowed for member states to divulge information regarding the prices that they are paying.”

He said that the recommendations and proposals will be presented in the next meeting in Rome in September.

The second issue which was discussed was regarding antimicrobial resistance. Fearne explained that that new resistances to macrobiotics have developed amongst communities, which creates new problems for medical staff to deal with.

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