According to recent statements of the Dutch Minister of Health, the French Minister of Health indicated during the last meeting of the Council of the European Union that France is considering joining the BeNeLuxA initiative, the collaboration between the Belgian, Dutch, Luxembourg and Austrian governments on pharmaceutical policy. If France joins the initiative, the new group would substantially increase its purchasing power in negotiations with healthcare actors as it would be representing a population of 100 million people compared to the current 37 million.

The BeNeLux initiative, which has the support of the Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European network for health technology assessment (EUnetHTA), focuses on:

  • Horizon scanning activities (identification of potential relevant innovations not yet on the market or still in the pipeline).
  • Health technology assessment (impact assessment on innovations).
  • Information exchanges (data sharing on pharmaceutical treatments, registries, and so on).
  • Joint pricing negotiations (pricing and reimbursement).

The participating countries of the BeNeLuxA intiative have invited other European countries to participate, and in addition to France, Ireland, Italy, and Switzerland have shown interest to collaborate in the initiative. The French Minister of Health indicated an interest in cooperating on at least horizon scanning, health technology assessment and information exchanges.

Meanwhile, the BeNeLuxA initiative is continuing to deepen collaboration by launching a joint project on Horizon Scanning for pharmaceuticals.

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