Minister Bruins: start of a new international partnership of medicines

Today marks the start of the International Horizon Scanning Initiative (IHSI). Together with 8 other countries, the Netherlands is forming a new partnership that will map and share information about new and important medicines. As a result, countries know at an early stage where they stand when it comes to future expensive medicines. In The Hague Minister Bruins (Medical Care) opened the first meeting of the initiative today.

Together with fellow Ministers De Block (Belgium) and Harris (Ireland), Minister Bruins has been a driving force behind the establishment of the partnership. In addition to these countries, Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland are also part of the initiative. As these countries will analyse and share predictive information together, they expect that their position in warranting access and achieving responsible drug prices will greatly improve. In time, medical devices are to become part of the initiative as well.

Minister Bruins: “International cooperation is extremely important if countries want to be well prepared for the arrival of new, promising but unfortunately often expensive medicines. Every country wants affordable and accessible medicines for patients. This new collaboration shows that this issue unites countries to take action. Collaboration starts with sharing information in order to prepare for future developments. This for example could inform national and international price negotiations. I see this as an important step towards broader international collaboration in the field of pharmaceuticals. That is why I am looking forward to welcoming colleagues who are not yet members in the near future."

Even after the launch of IHSI, Minister Bruins continues to advocate for the participation of other countries. Talks with other interested countries on future membership are ongoing.

Ready for the future
The initiative collects and analyses data with the aim to  looking further ahead and to be better prepared for the impact of potentially expensive medicines. Countries are convinced that a smart, transparent database with information about new medicines can make a big difference. Innovative use is made of a large number of data sources, such as drug studies, scientific literature and financial data from companies and investors in the pharmaceutical sector. The cooperation ensures a better position in national negotiations with manufacturers. In addition, it is essential for performing joint negotiations. In this it is important to  make agreements with other countries at an early stage. Finally, prescribers can adjust their guidelines earlier and identify the right patients for the drug.

Preparations for a tender for the activities of IHSI are in full swing. The first horizon scan results are expected by the end of 2020.

More information about IHSI: https://ihsi-health.org