Minister A. Veryga: ‘International cooperation will allow patients to receive necessary medication more rapidly’

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2018 05 14

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The Minister of Health of the Republic of Lithuania Aurelijus Veryga and the Minister of Health of Netherlands Bruno Bruins have signed a joint agreement aiming at closer cooperation between the countries in the field of medicinal preparations. The agreement is aimed at strengthening cooperation between the Republic of Lithuania and the Netherlands and sharing experience and knowledge in the field of medicinal preparations as well as evaluation of quality, safety, efficiency thereof. The forms and methods of cooperation as provided for in the agreement contribute to ensuring more rapid delivery of medicinal preparations necessary for patients. The agreement was initiated by the Government of the Netherlands also allocating resources necessary for implementation thereof. The activities provided in the agreement will be implemented up to 2020.

During the course of implementation of the agreement the experts of Medicinal Products Evaluation Council of Netherlands will share their knowledge and experience with the State Medicines Control Agency under the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Lithuania, various trainings of experts will take place, also possibilities will be explored how to attract more medicinal products into to the market of Lithuania in order to apply the most innovative treatment for patients. Similar agreements have been coordinated by the Medicinal Products Evaluation Council of Netherlands with Medicines Agencies of Estonia, Latvia, Croatia and Slovenia. However, the agreement with Lithuania is the first being signed by the ministers of health of both countries.

‘Pharmaceutical companies sell medicinal preparations all over the world. The Netherlands is a small country, the market of medicines is also not big, but by joining efforts with other states we can ensure our patients receiving all the necessary medication and medicines arriving not only as soon as possible but also at the lowest prices and be the safest’, – said B. Bruins.

‘There is no such legal instrument which imposes an obligation for manufacturers and registrants of medicines to sell a specific medication in specific or all Member States of the European Union.  Therefore, pharmaceutical companies usually develop their marketing strategies themselves including planning on where and which medicines will be sold. As we know pharmaceutical companies most often choose selling in those countries where they expect to get the highest profit.  Therefore, a number of medicinal products are simply not available for the majority of patients especially from smaller countries such as Lithuania, or the waiting time for them is quite long. The agreement between Lithuania and the Netherlands means that from now on both countries will work together with the aim for Lithuanian patients to receive necessary medication more rapidly’, – said A. Veryga.

Before starting sales of medicines within the Member States of the European Union it is first necessary evaluate the quality, efficiency and safety of medicinal preparations. This is the practice of all the Member States of the European Union. This evaluation is implemented in Lithuania by the State Medicines Control Agency under the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Lithuania. Currently, Medicines and Health Products Supervision Agency of the United Kingdom has been evaluating more than 20% of all medicinal preparations present in Europe. Next year with the United Kingdom exiting from the EU the evaluation of the said medicinal preparations will be the obligation of all the remaining Member States including Lithuania. The Government of the Netherlands have already allocated 10 million EUR for this purpose in order to ensure continuity of tasks and cooperation of agencies by joining expert efforts. According to the Minister of Health of the Netherlands B. Bruins, such cooperation is necessary in order to avoid any delay in registration of medicinal preparations and so ensuring most rapid supply thereof to patients. ​