The Minister for Health Simon Harris, at the Third Round Table meeting of EU Health Ministers and CEOs and Heads of Europe-based pharmaceutical companies, signed the Valletta Declaration along with Spain, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Cyprus, Malta and Romania.

These Round Table meetings seek to bring together EU Health Ministers, leaders of the pharmaceutical industry, innovative and generic industry associations as well as patient organisations, to promote a broader dialogue about the main challenges in the pharmaceutical realm.

The aim of this meeting was for these different stakeholders to meet informally, agree to explore various options and agree upon an aligned strategy proposal to improve the overall sustainability of healthcare with a central focus on improving access to treatment for patients, balanced costs for health systems and attractiveness for the industry to innovate and supply.

The signatories to the Valletta Declaration have now agreed to work together to explore possible ways to guarantee access to new medicines for patients.

A Technical Committee will be established, with the first meeting to take place in June. This group will explore possible areas for cooperation including information sharing, horizon scanning and possible price negotiations and joint procurement.

Minister Harris stated that "Ireland will continue to build on this and our relationship with other member states in efforts to secure affordable access for Irish patients to innovative medicines".