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From market access to patient access: overview of evidence-based approaches for the reimbursement and pricing of pharmaceuticals in 36 European countries.

Panteli D, Eckhardt H, Nolting A, Busse R, Kulig M
Health Research Policy and Systems (2015) 13:39 (DOI 10.1186/s12961-015-0028-5)





Coverage decisions determining the benefit baskets of health systems have been increasingly relying on evidence regarding patient benefit and costs. Relevant structures, methodologies, and processes have especially been established for pharmaceuticals but approaches differ. The objective of this work was thus to identify institutions in a broad range of European countries (n = 36) in charge of determining the value of pharmaceuticals for pricing and reimbursement purposes and to map their decision-making process; to examine the different approaches and consider national and supranational possibilities for best practice.


Institutions were identified through websites of international networks, ministries, and published literature. Details on institutional practices were supplemented with information from institution websites and linked online sources.


The type and extent of information available varied considerably across countries. Different types of public regulatory bodies are involved in pharmaceutical coverage decisions, assuming a range of responsibilities. As a rule, the assessment of scientific evidence is kept structurally separate from its appraisal. Recommendations on value are uniformly issued by specific committees within or commissioned by responsible institutions; these institutions often also act as decision-makers on reimbursement status and level or market price. While effectiveness and costs are important criteria in all countries, the latter are often considered on a case-by-case basis. In all countries, manufacturer applications, including relevant evidence, are used as one of the main sources of information for the assessment.


Transparency of evidence-based coverage decisions should be enhanced. International collaboration can facilitate knowledge exchange, improve efficiency of information production, and strengthen new or developing systems.

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