Health Ministers’ Meeting of the Countries Signatory to the Valletta Declaration

Health Ministers’ Meeting of the Countries Signatory to the Valletta Declaration

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health Chris Fearne welcomed ministers and delegates to the Health Ministers’ Meeting of the Countries Signatory to the Valletta Declaration and the 8th Meeting of the Valletta Technical Committee. This coincides with the second anniversary of the Valletta Declaration which was spearheaded by Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne during the Malta Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The group has been looking at new ways of working together towards facilitating access and affordability to medicines. A common challenge is that there are significant discrepancies in prices presented by the pharmaceutical industry for the same treatment in different countries.

All ministers and delegates present reiterated their commitment and support to this initiative with the aim of strengthening the negotiation power of member country national governments and health authorities to improve the access to medicines for their citizens, which amount to over 160 million, or 31.5% of the European Union.

Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne led the discussion around the importance of information sharing to strengthen joint negotiation and the need for a common legal framework at European level that would oblige the industry to be transparent about their prices. He invited the Technical Committee to prepare a proposal for discussion of this topic at one of the next EPSCO Council of health ministers’ meetings.

The ministers and delegates referred to the 72nd World Health Assembly Resolution on the transparency of markets for medicines, vaccines and other health products led by Italy, and supported by Malta and Valletta Declaration signatory countries, amongst others. Chris Fearne suggested that this resolution be brought to the attention of the ENVI Committee of the European Parliament.

Deputy Prime Minister Fearne presented a proposal for a strategy by the Valletta Declaration signatories to join forces against the serious public health threat of Antimicrobial Resistance through mechanisms which would engage with the industry to support affordable prices and availability of new antibiotics. The Valletta Technical Committee will now work on this proposal.

The next meeting of the Health Ministers of the Countries Signatory to the Valletta Declaration and the Valletta Technical Committee is expected to take place in Rome in September this year.