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PRESS RELEASE – COSTEFF Launch Event 13 October 2009
15 October 2009, Press
Brussels, 14 October 2009 – COSTEFF, a new association of companies in the pharmaceuticals and homecare sectors, officially inaugurated its alliance yesterday with a vow to help make medicines more affordable and improve the quality of healthcare throughout the European Union.
Speakers at the COSTEFF inauguration included Edwin Kohl, Chairman of COSTEFF, Jo Leinen MEP, Chairman of the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) Committee and Jérôme Boehm, on behalf of Andrzej Jan Rys, Director in DG SANCO, European Commission.
Opening the event, Edwin Kohl addressed in Brussels a group of about 80 participants, including high-ranking EU decision-makers, senior business and association representatives, journalists and other opinion leaders.
Mr. Kohl explained that cost savings are more critical now than ever before because of ageing of population. For example, France will operate its public healthcare system at a 9.4 billion euro deficit in 2009, while Germany’s public system is expected to reach a 7.4 billion euro deficit in 2010, according to the Commission des Comptes de la Sécurité Sociale (CCSS) and the Schätzerkreis der Gesetzlichen Krankenversicherung (GKV), respectively.
A new association is therefore needed to focus on cost-effective solutions, in particular affordable patented medicines, generics & biosimilars, and Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) technologies for elderly patients, told the Chairman. “It is only by unlocking the innovation potential in all areas of healthcare that it can be possible to guarantee the sustainability of healthcare systems in Europe”, contended Mr. Kohl.
Jo Leinen, a long-standing Member of the European Parliament, celebrated the forthcoming entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty increasing the EU health competencies. He reviewed the Parliament’s current healthcare dossiers, insisting on the impact of the cross-border patients’ rights directive. He expressed his desire for a broader exchange of best practices among Member States. Mr. Leinen stated that with climate change likely to add “new stress on healthcare systems, initiatives like COSTEFF, which encourages debates on cost-effective solutions are strongly needed”.
Jérôme Boehm, who is working to promote European Union cooperation on Health Technology Assessments (HTAs), welcomed the new stakeholder COSTEFF. He stressed that cost efficiency was essential to ensure sustainability of healthcare systems, but added that health promotion remained also an important goal. EU health policy was based on the core values of universality, equity, solidarity and quality, he explained.
The Commission’s representative went on to outline the European Commission’s own efforts through the coordination of HTAs to make healthcare more affordable by evaluating the outcomes of the different healthcare systems, in terms of innovation in particular. He supported COSTEFF’s commitment to work with other stakeholders and believed that the association could play a role in promoting Ambiant Assisted Living for the benefit of patients and healthcare systems.
The event closed with a panel discussion moderated by Gary Finnegan, a senior Irish health journalist. After a lively discussion, participants agreed on the need to find new solutions to financial problems in the healthcare sector without compromising quality and safety. The concrete solutions developed by COSTEFF Members, particularly for homecare, were at the fore of the debate.
During the exchange of views, Mr. Kohl stressed, “The members of COSTEFF prove every day through their business models that it’s possible to combine greater cost efficiency with greater quality.”
As a next step following its inauguration, COSTEFF will be organising best practice workshops to ensure that cost efficiency and innovation are taken into consideration by EU and national healthcare decision-makers.
Founded in 2009 by a group of parallel trade, homecare and healthcare companies, COSTEFF is a pan-European organisation designed to shed light on existing innovations in Europe that can drive down the cost of medicines and healthcare. The group represents companies that operate in the areas of parallel trading, generics and biosimilars, distribution of medicines, intelligent packaging, and homecare technologies. COSTEFF seeks to promote an open debate in healthcare to include the innovations that such companies already provide and to encourage the exchange of research and best practices. For more information, see http://www.costeff.eu/.