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Why Europe's smaller states struggle to get the best medicines

In partnership with The European Commission
Why Europe's smaller states struggle to get the best medicines
Copyright euronews
Copyright euronews
By Euronews
Published on Updated
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Encouraging pharmaceutical companies to distribute their latest medicines to smaller countries at an affordable price isn't easy, as the executive chairperson of the Malta Medicines Authority explains.

The Malta Medicines Authority works "to protect and enhance public health through the regulation of medicinal products and pharmaceutical activities".

In this interview, Professor Anthony Serracino Inglott, the executive chairperson of the Authority, explains the challenges the EU's smallest member states face ensuring proper access to medicines for all patients - and the possible solutions for the future. 

"There is a tendency for the industry in certain areas to go for smaller markets at a high price. So you sell the medicines at a very high price to a lesser number of people rather than selling the medicine to a larger number of people at a lower price. Because that could be more attractive in an area where facilities, where transport, where expenses are related to the amount. From an industrial, economic point of view, that could be more substantial sustainability, financially for the industry." 

Incentivising affordability

"But the European Union has to start thinking that medicines, innovative medicines, should be made available and affordable to all citizens in all countries. And the way that it appears that they are trying to achieve that by the new legislation is by giving incentives to those medicines that are also at a reasonable, affordable price. It is clear now that the EU will put in these three pillars that we've seen for medicines availability in Europe: to be safe, to be effective and to be of good quality, and we will be adding another pillar, which is essential, and that is accessibility. And therefore, to put a drug on European market, it will not only have to be safe, effective and of good quality as a requirement for market authorization."

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