The price of new medicines is rising every year in the European Union, especially where a therapeutic alternative isn’t available. As a result, treatments for diseases, like cancer and hepatitis C, are becoming increasingly unaffordable for individuals and Member State healthcare systems alike.

At the same time, pharmaceutical research and development (R&D) pipelines are drying up. Few new medicines provide therapeutic added value. And increasing cross-border threats, such as antibiotic resistance, are gaining ground quickly while limited solutions are being proposed. This, combined with the looming large-scale expiration of patents on medicines, means pharmaceutical companies use unethical strategies, such as evergreening and pay-for-delay agreements, to deter generic competition and maximise their profits.

In addition to calling for greater transparency of medicine price setting in the EU, Health Action International urges the EU to negotiate lower medicine prices and use effective mechanisms that make medicines affordable, including compulsory licences. We support policies that promote generic and biosimilar competition that put an end to pharmaceutical monopolies. We also advocate for complete transparency of pharmaceutical R&D and for the use of new R&D models.

Because access to safe and affordable medicines is also influenced by international trade agreements, Health Action International pursues EU trade policies that are aligned with public health interests.

REPORTEU Leadership Critical for Affordable & Responsible Antibiotic R&D

WEBSITE: Private Patents & Public Health: Changing intellectual property rules for access to medicines

TOOLS: Using TRIPS Flexibilities