Proposal on Horizon Scanning for pharmaceuticals for the BeNeLuxA collaboration published

Veerle Pissierssens

On 20 April 2017, the Belgian Healthcare Knowledge Centre (KCE) published its proposal on horizon scanning (HS) for pharmaceuticals. The proposal forms part of the work of the “BeNeLuxA Collaboration”, a collaboration between the Belgian, Dutch, Luxembourg and Austrian governments on pharmaceutical policy, focusing on HS, health technology assessment, and pricing and reimbursement. The KCE was asked to lead a task force responsible for developing a HS methodology for medicinal products, and a possible model for a joint HS system to enhance the exchange of information and reduce duplication of resources.

The KCE recommends creating a central HS unit to perform joint HS activities. The unit could be: (i) a newly established unit within an existing agency; (ii) an expansion of an existing HS unit; or (iii) a third party commissioned and financed by the four collaborating countries. The countries agreed that the joint HS system should cover medicinal products “with a potentially high financial, clinical and/or organisational impact on the health system”, including the first biosimilar for a biologic medicine, and cellular and/or gene therapies.

The proposal indicates that the HS unit should be responsible for:

  • Identifying on the collaboration level new and emerging medicinal products.
  • Filtering on the collaboration level identified products based on scope and time horizon of the HS system.
  • Prioritising filtered products for early assessment on the national level.
  • The early assessment of prioritised products.

The proposal notes that the Belgian pharmaceutical industry association pharma.be is supportive of a collaborative HS effort, provided that the following conditions are met:

  • All company information remains confidential.
  • Participation in the HS system does not become a condition for reimbursement.
  • The HS system does not lead to a separate budget for new medicines.
  • All companies are invited to participate.

A prior version of this post was originally published by the same authors in Practical Law – Life Sciences, April 2017 Issue (Thomson Reuters).

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