Plenary Sessions

First Plenary Session - Monday, 12 November 9:15-10:45

Joint Assessment of Relative Effectiveness: “Trick or Treat” for Decision Makers in EU Member States



Evidence-based health policy and decision making necessitates more and better clinical evidence on relative efficacy, effectiveness, and therapeutic benefits of new or existing health technologies. However, requirements to develop evidence on added therapeutic value as well as the requirements on the transparency of assessment process for consequent decision making are uneven and frequently not aligned in the European Union (EU) member states. This leads to a line of challenges ranging from questions on the quality of assessments produced by various health technology assessment (HTA) bodies, to problems with patient access to innovative technologies and jeopardized sustainability of the healthcare systems of the EU member states. The European Commission’s draft regulation on HTA that proposes a Europe-wide introduction of a joint clinical assessment (and other measures) is intended to address some of the above challenges. Can joint clinical assessment be a way forward to ensure “more and better clinical evidence” to improve decision making on availability and provision of new or existing health technologies? Will it make a big difference for the availability and quality of the clinical evidence? What are the opportunities to strengthen HTA methodologies and processes of the EU member states? A panel of stakeholders from the European HTA bodies, European institutions, industry, patients, and payers have been invited to address these and other timely questions as well as discuss risks and benefits of the joint clinical assessments to move beyond the status quo in HTA processes in Europe.

Moderator & Speakers

Finn Børlum Kristensen, MD, PhD, Professor of Health Services Research and HTA, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark

  • Flora Giorgio, Head of Sector, HTA, Directorate General Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE), European Commission
  • Menno Aarnout, Executive Director, International Association of Mutual Benefit Societies (AIM), Brussels, Belgium
  • Luciana Ballini, Chair, EUnetHTA JA3 Plenary Assembly and Senior Researcher, Regional Agency for Health (ASSR), Emilia Romagna, Italy
  • Nicola Bedlington, Secretary General, European Patients Forum (EPF), Brussels, Belgium
  • Ansgar Hebborn, PhD,Head, Global HTA & Payment Policy, F. Hoffman-La Roche AG, Basel, Switzerland and Chair, HTA Working Group, European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), Brussels, Belgium
  • Roman Topór-MÄ…dry, President, Agency for Health Technology Assessment at Tariff System (AOTMiT), Warsaw, Poland

Second Plenary Session - Tuesday, 13 November 9:00-10:30

Pharmaceutical Pricing: The Many Faces of Fairness




In 2017, the World Health Organization (WHO) convened the first Fair Pricing Forum to focus global attention on the apparent perversity of high prices that restrict access to essential patented medicines and the unpredictability of low prices that drive shortages in the generics sector. Stakeholders discussed perspectives on the current pricing systems and identified a need for a fairer system that is sustainable for health systems, investors, and the pharmaceutical industry.

While the definition of what is fair and whether it is feasible to achieve are two separate but related constructs, the focus of the plenary is on defining “fair” in the context of pharmaceutical pricing. Speakers will also explore whether it is possible (or necessary) to come to a shared understanding of fairness. Could a renewed focus on the shared objectives of achieving universal health coverage, sustainable development goals, and access to medicines provide the catalyst for identifying non-regulatory strategies

to address the current inequities and provide much needed access? Or is further regulation required

Moderator & Speakers

Moderator: Sarah Garner, PhD Coordinator, Innovation, Access and Use, Essential Medicines and Health Products Department, World Health Organization (WHO), Geneva, Switzerland


  • Marcin Czech, PhD, MD, MBA, Deputy Minister and Undersecretary of State, Polish Ministry of Health, Warsaw, Poland
  • Eric Low, OBE Head of Global Strategy, Amyloidosis Research Consortium, East Lothian, Scotland, UK
  • Joep Muijrers, PhD Chief Financial Officer, PureTech Health, Boston, MA, USA
  • Tanya Potashnik, MA Director, Policy and Economic Analysis, Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB), Government of Canada, Ottawa, Canada
  • Lluis Sauri-Romero, Economist, DG Competition, European Commission, Brussels, Belgium
  • Richard Torbett, PhD,Executive Director, Commercial Policy - UK and International, The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) and Chair, Pricing & Reimbursement Priority Working Group, EFPIA, London, UK

THIRD PLENARY SESSION - Wednesday, 14 November 2018 10:30-11:45

Budget Impact and Expenditure Caps: Potential or Pitfall?


Many health systems in the European Union are tempted to control the budget impacts of health policies by implementing financial caps and linking pharmaceutical expenditure to gross domestic product. Proponents of budget-capping policies consider them to be promising in terms of cost-containment, affordability, and predictability and believe these approaches are needed to prevent impinging on other social policy goals. Critics of these policies suggest that, while they may appear to contribute to financial control in the short term, it is doubtful that this type of macroeconomic course of action contributes to efficiency, the diffusion of innovation, or the provision of appropriate incentives for competition. An important question is whether a budget-capping strategy encourages or undermines the achievement of better health outcomes, in both the short term and the long term, in a way that is consistent with overall societal goals. Should the financial vehicles of the Economic Ministries be the principal driver of the economics of health policy? Or should the driving and the road map for better health of the population be in the hands of the highest government authority with the accompanying support of health economics? How can budget-controlling approaches be designed to best foster continued innovation?
Moderator & Speakers
Guillem López-Casasnovas, PhD Professor, Department of Economics and Founder & Director, Center for Health and Economics, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain
  • Félix Lobo, PhDEmeritus Professor of Economics, University Carlos III de Madrid, Madrid, Spain
  • Peter C. Smith, MSc, Emeritus Professor of Health Policy, Imperial College Business School and Professor of Global Health Economics, Centre for Health Economics, University of York, London, UK
  • Adrian Towse, MA, MPhil, Director, Office of Health Economics, London, UK
  • Geert van Maanen, Former Secretary-General, Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, The Netherlands