On the 22 June 2018, I signed the Beneluxa Initiative on Pharmaceutical Policy to work with Austria; Belgium; the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The Beneluxa collaboration was established in 2015, with a view to taking a collective approach to pharmaceutical procurement and evaluation. This Initiative seeks to enhance patients' access to high quality and affordable treatments, improve the payers' position in the market through joint negotiations, increase transparency on pricing between the collaborating countries, share policy expertise and focus on knowledge building.
Four areas of collaboration has been identified: horizon scanning, health technology assessment, information sharing and policy exchange and joint price negotiations. Under the domain of horizon scanning, Beneluxa have been developing a shared International Horizon Scanning Initiative (IHSI) where validated information on new medicines entering the market would be available to members. It will provide for national planning and allocation of resources. It will also allow members to explore possible voluntary collaboration on joint price negotiations. Participation in this initiative is open to non Beneluxa countries.
Since 2017, officials from my Department have been engaged with officials from other member states on the technical and procedural preparations for this initiative.
The preparations are now in their final stages and Ireland has signalled its interest in this project.
The next stage of the project will involve a procuring process to select the appropriate company/companies to complete the necessary work and services for an international horizon scan.