In May, last year, during the Maltese EU Presidency, on the initiative of the Maltese Health Minister Chris Fearne, six Mediterranean countries – namely Malta, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, and Spain, together with Portugal – signed the Valletta Declaration to cooperate in the assessment and joint procurement of new medicines. This group was quickly joined by Ireland and Romania. Now, Slovenia and Croatia have also joined as full members and France has been granted observer status. This means that the Valletta Group now represents 230 million European citizens.
This important group is negotiating with the pharmaceutical industry to contain the ever-increasing prices of new drugs. This process is imperative for the continued sustainability of health care systems in Europe.
During the third Ministerial Meeting of the Valletta Group held in Madrid this week, the 11 EU countries were joined by the EU Commission in planning the way forward to bring more affordable medicines to European citizens.