LONDON, Oct 18 (APM) – European countries should promote greater use of generics and biosimilars, as well as adopting drug price-control policies to meet long-term care costs, a report advises.

Unveiled late last week, the European Commission’s ‘Joint Report on Health Care and Long-Term Care Systems and Fiscal Sustainability’, prepared by the Commission Services (Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs) and the Economic Policy
Committee (Ageing Working Group), sets out a series of recommendations to promote use of cheaper drugs and ensure there are sufficient numbers of carers in Europe’s ageing population.

In general terms, volume 1 says getting more value for money is key to ensuring long-term access, quality and financial sustainability of healthcare systems.

“By encouraging policies realising better value for money governments can achieve greater efficiency,” it added.

Health systems in Europe also need to do more to foster health promotion and disease prevention, it said.

‘Affordability of medicines’

European countries’ policies should focus on the “affordability of medicines”, the report said, while emphasising promotion of the use of “generics and biosimilars, appropriate pricing and price-control policies, promoting rational use of medicines”.

More incentives need to be put in place affecting the whole value chain from manufacturers to distributors, it said.

“Enhanced ways of cross-country cooperation should be explored further and enhanced,” the report added.

Greater competition, use of data

It said competition should be encouraged in pharmaceuticals, pharmacy distribution and diagnostic services.

In addition, data should be generated to compare performance across service providers “as well as health outcomes within and across countries and as an essential tool to support governance”.

Ensure old people do not lose all their money

Away from drugs, the report said long-term care systems should provide older people with adequate care that responds to their level of need and prevents them and their relatives from “falling into financial deprivation due to the high financial burden of paying for care”.

It added: “With rapidly growing long-term care needs, EU member states need to prioritise the use of public long-term care funds in order to ensure goals are met without endangering long-term fiscal sustainability.”

The second volume of the report describes the healthcare and long-term care systems of all EU countries on a country basis and presents the related policy challenges.

Report welcomed by Medicines for Europe

Medicines for Europe said it welcomed the report. In its statement, it said increased use of generic and biosimilar medicines in medical practice is a central policy option put forward to increase the health status of the European population without necessarily increasing expenditure.

The report highlights the need for policy action to safeguard and sustain the contribution of healthcare and long-term care systems to improve population health, it said.

Several recommendations are presented in order to get more value for money, ensure access to medicines and increase the cost-effectiveness of healthcare and long-term care services.

“Generic and biosimilar medicines in particular have a pivotal role to play in this process,” it added.

Adrian van den Hoven, Medicines for Europe Director General said: “This report once again underlines the important role of generic and biosimilar medicines for sustainable healthcare.

“Medicines for Europe and its national association members are ready to partner with the EU and member states to develop the most effective policies to increase access to generic and biosimilar medicines.”

Medicines for Europe began over 20 years ago as the European Generics Medicines Association (EGA) with the goal of representing the emerging generic industry, later growing to include biosimilar medicines to its portfolio.