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Fred Roeder is a health economist at the Consumer Choice Centre.
Long approval processes and prospective reimbursement lists limit consumer and patient choice and access to innovative treatments. One discussed reform proposal would allow patients to get access to innovation up to seven years earlier than now. This could be a silver bullet to reduce drug costs per treatment.
More and more governments of EU member states aim to reduce procurement costs for innovative drugs by merging their drug purchasing and price negotiation efforts. This could lead to lower public expenditures on costly drugs as it also opens the floodgates of rationing innovative medicine.
A harmonised and merged purchasing system could lead to the lowest common denominator when it comes to reimbursing innovative medicines. This could come at the expense of patients looking for innovative treatments.
We need to acknowledge that most European countries’ public finances don’t allow for larger public healthcare spending. Thus governments need to make it easier for patients to purchase supplementary insurance that covers innovative drugs. This can happen through market-oriented health care reforms and offering incentives to purchase supplementary insurance.