Cross-country collaborations to improve access to medicines and vaccines in the WHO European Region
This report assesses five government-led, voluntary cross-country collaborations in the WHO European Region that aim to improve access to essential medicines through joint activities: the Baltic Procurement Initiative, Beneluxa Initiative, Fair and Affordable Pricing, Nordic Pharmaceutical Forum and Valletta Declaration. These cover activities including information sharing, health technology assessment, horizon scanning, joint pricing/reimbursement negotiations and joint procurement of medicines. The research shows that tangible results are only seen after months or years of cooperation. Challenges include the resources required, different languages of participants, dissimilar organizational and legal frameworks, the reluctance of industry to engage in negotiations with a collaboration and pressure to produce results. Nevertheless, interviewees considered the collaborations beneficial. Facilitating factors identified include political support, trust within the collaboration, commitment of the technical experts involved, similarities between health care systems and leadership of a dedicated person. The report concludes with a checklist of prerequisites for successful cross-country collaborations.