The European Cancer Patient Coalition welcomes the European Commission’s proposal, published on 31 January 2018, for future EU cooperation on Health Technology Assessment and urges the European Parliament and the Member States to adopt the proposal in order to harmonise patient organisations’ involvement in Health Technology Assessment.

The European Cancer Patient Coalition has been advocating for a harmonised Health Technology Assessment in the EU since 2014. The organisation has launched The European Bill of Cancer Patient’s Rights, which was endorsed by MEP Elizabetta Gardini with a Written Declaration in the European Parliament and supported by more than 250 Members of the European Parliament.

The European Cancer Patient Coalition amplified the momentum on the EU cooperation on the Health Technology Assessment around the regulation 726/2004, voted by the ENVI Committee and the European Parliament in the first quarter of 2016. Last year, the European Parliament passed a new report on the Options for Improving Access to Medicines, which contains most of the amendments proposed in the European Cancer Patient Coalition’s position paper.

Under the proposal, Europeans with cancer will benefit from increased cooperation, reduced delays, added transparency and better patient involvement in the decision-making process. By avoiding unnecessary duplications of efforts, mandatory Joint Clinical Assessments will remove the risk of diverging results and outcomes of national assessments, thus minimising the delays in access to new treatments.

The European Cancer Patient Coalition also welcomes the increased involvement of patients in the decision-making process:

“Patients must be the focus of the Health Technology Assessment. We are pleased to see that the European Commission proposes to provide a harmonised framework for the involvement of patients in the Health Technology Assessment processes. The European Cancer Patient Coalition advocates for patients as equal partners. Policymakers, researchers, doctors and industry should recognise people with cancer as co-creators of their own health.” said Francesco De Lorenzo, President of the European Cancer Patient Coalition.

Cancer patients across Europe are currently faced with disparities and delays in access to innovative treatments, largely due to non-existent or fragmented Health Technology Assessments systems. The proposed Joint Scientific Consultations would ensure that all the necessary data and evidence is generated ahead of the Health Technology Assessment submission, contributing to quicker availability of innovative cancer therapies.

The European Cancer Patient Coalition has responded to the European Commission’s consultation on Strengthening of the EU cooperation on Health Technology Assessment and is pleased to see the majority of the concerns addressed in this proposal and hopes to see continued synergy in the work of the European Parliament and the European Commission towards better health of European citizens.