WHO-Led Fair Pricing Forum Registration Opens

Registration has begun for a closed-door gathering allowing governments and stakeholders to hold open discussions about a fairer pricing system for medical products, led by the World Health Organization. The second meeting of the Fair Pricing Forum, this time in South Africa, comes as debates over drug pricing and access rise ever higher in developing and developed countries alike.

The second Fair Pricing Forum will take place in Johannesburg on 11-13 April. Details including registration information and the draft agenda are available here on the WHO website.

The proposed agenda covers issues such as negotiating, regional strategies for pricing and medicine selection, “interpreting” patent information and intellectual property issues, access to cancer medicines, progress made since the first forum in 2017, innovative industry’s position, transparency, pooled procurement, new pricing approaches, market failures such as antimicrobial resistance, insulin and paediatric medicines, historical context including the famous fight over HIV/AIDS medicine access in South Africa in the 1990s, and next steps.

The website states:

“The main objective of the Forum is to discuss options for a fairer pricing system that is sustainable for both health systems and research-based and generic pharmaceutical industries. The initiative also aims to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals agenda, in particular to expanding access to essential medicines and attaining universal health coverage.”

“The meeting is the second forum that focuses on the impact of price setting strategies on access to medicines and vaccines, following the inaugural forum held in the Netherlands in 2017 (10–11 May). Since the 2017 Forum, some countries have made major strides in improving access to medicines through better pricing policies. However, high prices of newly developed medicines and growing prices of existing medicines continue to present major challenges to low-, middle- and even high-income countries. On the other hand, prices that are too low may have negative impacts on the continuity of supply. Fair pricing of essential medicines would mitigate these challenges while providing sufficient incentives for encouraging enterprises and innovation for health technologies.”

“The Forum will allow all relevant stakeholders, including representatives from the pharmaceutical industry and relevant nongovernmental and patient organizations, to share their experiences with current pricing strategies and to discuss how to achieve fairer prices in the long term. Some of the themes for the Forum will be transparency of pricing, strengthening pricing policies, and cross border collaboration. WHO and the National Department of Health in South Africa have the pleasure to request Governments to nominate senior policy-makers who work on the selection, pricing and reimbursement of medicines. Due to the capacity of the venue, participation will be limited to two attendees per country.”

The event is expected to be closed to the media, with a virtual press conference at the end, according to sources.

The proposed agenda provides objectives and expected outcomes:

“1. Objectives
1.1. To share experiences in employing regulatory and non-regulatory measures for achieving ‘fair’ prices for
pharmaceutical products that are affordable to patients and healthcare systems while incentivising
enterprise, efficiency and innovation
1.2. To explore tools, approaches and system factors that could facilitate affordable and sustainable pricing of
pharmaceutical products
1.3. To identify areas of actions that would support countries in achieving fairer pricing of pharmaceutical products

2. Expected outcomes
2.1. Exchange of experiences in achieving better access through pricing measures
2.2. Enabling networks for sharing of information relating to tools and approaches that could be used to achieve
more affordable and sustainable prices
2.3. Enhanced understanding of the merits and challenges of pricing and financing approaches that might bring
about fairer pricing
2.4. Common understanding and shared commitment towards the areas of actions identified for supporting countries in achieving fairer pricing”

 

Image Credits: World Health Organization.

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