France asks OECD for help on drug prices

By Natalie Huet, Politico 

France has asked the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to help run international discussions on access to innovative but costly medicines.

Specifically, France asked the group of mostly wealthy countries to thoroughly assess the sustainability of countries’ health care spending in the medium term, to set up “in the coming weeks” a group of experts to make proposals, and to consult businesses, NGOs, research institutes and patient associations.

“It’s essential that the international community come together, and I will fight for that,” Health Minister Marisol Touraine said in a statement after meeting with her G7 counterparts in Kobe, Japan. “The future of our health care systems, and the future of innovation funding, is at stake.”

The move comes after Socialist President François Hollande told the G7 earlier this year that governments needed to work together on the topic.

Several countries have volunteered to help with prospective studies of the impact of pricey new treatments for cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and hepatitis C, according to the statement.

The proposals pitched by the working group would be presented at a meeting of health ministers scheduled at the OECD headquarters in Paris on January 17, 2017.

A draft report would be published in the meantime, with a final report due in December 2017.

Officials at the OECD were not immediately available to comment.

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