Bridging the Gap: Enhancing Access to Medicines through Cross-Sector Collaboration

By Danélia Botes

November 20, 2023

The Medicine Accessibility Challenge

High-income countries are increasingly struggling to afford medicines. New and established drugs are often too expensive and scarce. Gene and cell therapies, cancer pharmaceuticals, and orphan drugs are expensive and burden individuals and health systems.

Broken Pharma Systems

Pharmaceutical system fragmentation, especially in Europe, limits equal medicine availability. The outpatient and hospital sectors frequently have separate public bodies for medicine reimbursement and procurement. This distinction can cause differences in inpatient and outpatient medicine, which can have serious cost consequences, especially when hospitals start expensive therapy. The goal of a recent study was to determine whether cross-sectorial pharmaceutical policies improve medicine access in Europe.

Policymakers and Stakeholders

Policymakers and stakeholders are crucial to pharmaceutical reimbursement and procurement cross-sectorial collaboration. The roles include starting and assessing the collaboration. Policymakers can enable cross-sector collaboration with legal and regulatory frameworks. They can also start change and harmonise policy across industries. These policies can be developed and implemented using the skills and understanding of stakeholders. They can also promote collaboration benefits to stakeholders and the public. To be effective, these jobs require a productive atmosphere with trust, transparency, and stakeholder understanding.

Limitations and Future Plans

The review focused on Europe, thus its findings may not apply to other regions. The evaluation did not examine cross-sector collaboration barriers, which would affect policy creation and implementation. Similar research in other regions and investigations of cross-sector collaboration barriers should solve these limitations. Longitudinal research are needed to assess how these agreements affect medicine access. This would strengthen evidence that cross-sector coordination improves access to inexpensive medicines.

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