Recommendations published on medicine procurement across the EU

Posted: 18 February 2022 | | No comments yet

The EFPIA has published 10 recommendations to ensure that procurement practices across the EU are effective and sustainable, delivering high quality medicines for patients, in the right quantities and at the right time.

Recommendations published on medicine procurement across the EU

Speaking about the recommendations included in EFPIA’s White Paper On the Effectiveness of Public Procurement of Medicines in the EU, EFPIA’s Director General, Nathalie Moll, said “The White Paper is a sector-specific contribution to the broader debate on the efficacy of the EU procurement rules in the context of the EU’s resilience and growth goals. We hope that the promulgation of best practice guidance from the Commission with the support of national competent authorities will not only improve formal public procurement procedures, but also influence informal tendering processes that are increasingly employed outside the confines of Directive 2014/24/EU’.”

Over recent years, the European Union has adopted directives that regulate the use of tenders for public sector procurements in general, and for healthcare purchasing in Europe specifically. The COVID-19 pandemic has generated renewed interest in recourse to cross-border joint procurement in the healthcare sector as foreseen by EU Decision 1082/2013/EU on serious cross-border threats to health. These public procurement rules are designed to contribute to sustainable economic growth and achieve value for money. 

EFPIA, representing the research-based pharmaceutical industry in Europe, has formally release the results of an in-depth survey it has carried out among its members to capture the state of play of the implementation of the 2014 EU Public Procurement Directive that ought to have been transposed into national law by 16 April 2016. The survey aims at understanding the extent to which there are delays, discrepancies, enforcement gaps, and whether on balance the new rules are working well or are generating unforeseen complications in the real world. 

The White Paper includes 10 specific recommendations to ensure that procurement practices are effective and sustainable and calls for the European Commission to elaborate and promote best practice guidance on the basis of Article 168 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to ensure that procurement procedures in the pharmaceutical sector, including joint procurement, deliver high quality medicines for patients, in the right quantities and at the right time.

In particular, the European Commission guidance for the procurement of medicines should call for increased input from clinical experts in tender preparation; a balanced assessment of qualitative and quantitative award criteria leading to effective multi-awardee framework contracts; and respect of pricing confidentiality following a transparent and predictable tender process.

The EFPIA White Paper urges the European Commission and Member States to limit EU led cross-border joint procurement to situations of serious threats to health, to respect the voluntary nature of such processes and to avoid unnecessary duplication of tender procedures or stockpiling requirements by participating Member States.