MEPs address inequalities in access to quality healthcare and to innovative medicines
Launched on 27 January, the health care access interest group of the European Parliament aims at putting health care access and patient equality on the European agenda. This informal group of MEPs, to which the European Patients Forum (EPF) provides expertise, will seek to combat health-care inequalities and increase high quality health care access for all patients, promoting interaction between stakeholders and European decision-makers.
Along the same line, MEPs called for more transparency in the medicine prices at their plenary session on 11 February, attended by representatives of the Latvian Presidency and the European Commission. Given the high prices of new treatments for diseases such as hepatitis C, the MEPs and certain member states were willing to reopen the debate on possible European measures to increase the transparency of the prices of pharmaceutical products.
Many MEPs took part in the discussions, stressing the need for greater transparency in prices and more coordination between the member states to bring pressure to bear on pharmaceutical companies, amongst others, not to set excessive prices on medicines.
Recalling the conclusions of the Health Council of June 2014 on the economic crisis and its impact on the healthcare systems, and the conclusions of December 2014 on innovation in favour of patients, the Latvian Presidency stressed the Presidency's effort in that field and its willingness to ensure that those conclusions are implemented in the coming months. It also referred to the creation of an expert group on early and fair access to medicines, which started work two weeks ago.