|Pharmaceuticals have contributed to improvements in life expectancy and quality of life of many patients. Medicines can cure, relieve symptoms, delay the onset of disease and prevent complications. They often offer good value for money. However, recent trends raise a number of concerns. The launch prices of new drugs have been increasing in some therapeutic categories, sometimes without commensurate health gains. At the same time, new effective medicines are not always affordable to all patients who need them and put a high pressure on healthcare budgets. These trends raise questions about incentives at work in the pharmaceutical sector and the sustainability of current pricing models.
Sustainable access to innovative medicines
This project, conducted between 2016 and 2018 assesses current challenges in pharmaceutical markets, based on the best available evidence; looks at pharmaceutical industries' activities and performance and proposes a set of policy options for policy makers to consider to address current challenges
Opioids use has dramatically increased in some OECD countries, both of prescribed and illicit opioids. This has led to a sharp upsurge in addiction and overdose deaths, with serious social and economic consequences. The OECD is analysing the opioids epidemic and exploring several policy strategies that can help countries address the issue.
Addressing the challenges of access to medicines
The OECD has undertaken several projects to further explore avenues to increase pharmaceutical expenditure efficiency and better prepare to changes in the market.
Antimicrobial resistance is rapidly becoming a top health problem that could pose a significant challenge to the functioning of healthcare systems and their budget in OECD and G20 countries.
Pharmaceutical pricing policy project
The project had two main objectives: to add to the base of information about pharmaceutical pricing policy in OECD countries and develop a taxonomy and framework for making international comparisons of policies, and to analyse cross-national impacts and implications of policies, particularly with respect to the impacts on pharmaceutical prices paid in other countries and on pharmaceutical R&D.
The use of medical radioisotopes is an important part of modern medical practice. Each year, over 40 million people around the world benefit from nuclear medicine imaging. However, the radioisotope supply chain is susceptible to disruptions that can jeopardise the availability of these essential products. The OECD Health Division is currently cooperating with the Nuclear Energy Agency to analyse the economics of radioisotope supply and identify policy options to make supply more reliable.
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