Challenges and Opportunities in Improving Access to Medicines Through Efficient Public Procurement In WHO European Region
(2016; 106 pages)


This report maps different methods used by countries to conduct more efficient procurement and to improve access to treatment, with a focus on procurement of medicines. Efficient procurement involves more than just obtaining the lowest price – it is about creating a healthy market where high-quality products are available at the right time at affordable prices and at the right quantity. Strategic procurement encompasses all activities aimed at improving procurement efficiency. These include, for example, activities to minimize low-value repetitive purchases, to increase the benefit of economies of scale and to reduce transaction and transport costs. In pharmaceutical procurement additional instruments can be leveraged to improve efficiency: using of generics or biosimilar products; reducing the number of medicines procured in a particular therapeutic area, implementation of clinical guidelines and formularies; and creating a competitive market through therapeutic tenders. A country consultation was organized to review national procurement experiences and explore opportunities for collaboration between countries to address key challenges faced in introducing new medicines. It was noted that access to new medicines in Europe could be further facilitated through regional or subregional country collaboration on public procurement of medicines.

Discussion points were formulated on how to improve access to new medicines by enhancing the efficiency of procurement systems. A number of initiatives have been set up in recent years. Voluntary collaboration between countries in Europe could also increase efficiency in procurement, and discussion about the possibility of increasing this is growing.

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