Other Events

European Public Health Week: GÖG-Colloquium | Greener pharmaceuticals: policies for an environmentally sustainable pharmaceutical system

Event start date/time
Wed, 15 May 2024 15:00:00 +0200
Event end date/time
Wed, 15 May 2024 16:30:00 +0200
Event location
Online webinar via Zoom
Contact (Email)

On 15 May 2024, the Pharmacoeconomics Department at Gesundheit Österreich hosted a webinar on greener pharmaceuticals. The event, part of the European Public Health Week - Health is a political choice - and Horizon Europe ASCERTAIN, focused on policies to reduce the environmental impact of pharmaceuticals.

The webinar highlighted the significant role of pharmaceuticals in transitioning towards a planetary health approach. Currently, pharmaceuticals contribute largely to the carbon footprint of health systems, and their manufacturing and improper disposal can negatively impact ecosystems.

The event explored existing policy measures, including health technology assessment (HTA) and public procurement of medicines, and how they can be used to transition towards more sustainable health systems. It drew on research findings and experiences from Austria, Denmark, and the UK in promoting greener pharmaceuticals.

Key learnings from the webinar included:

The webinar confirmed the challenges and progress in incorporating environmental aspects in various activities related to medicines. While robust methodological approaches are being explored and data availability is to be improved, several examples showcased the feasibility of initiatives towards greener pharmaceuticals. The importance of multi-stakeholder coordination and collaboration was emphasized.

You can find more information on this webinar and the speakers here.

European Public Health Week: Webinar | Wake up: Building resilient pharmaceutical systems

Event start date/time
Fri, 20 May 2022 08:00:00 +0200
Event end date/time
Fri, 20 May 2022 09:15:00 +0200
Event location
Online via Zoom

Wake up

How can we build resilient pharmaceutical systems? In a webinar organised by the Pharmacoeconomics Department at the Austrian National Public Health Institute (GÖG), three speakers reported on best practice examples from European countries and cross-country collaborations. The webinar took place on 20 May 2022 and formed part of the European Public Health Week which aims to raise awareness about public health and promote collaboration among the public health community in Europe.

Link to webinar summary

European Public Health Week: Local production of pharmaceuticals as measure to overcome medicine shortages

Event start date/time
Fri, 26 May 2023 12:00:00 +0200
Event end date/time
Fri, 26 May 2023 13:00:00 +0200
Event location
online via zoom

Gesundheit Österreich invites to a lunch lecture of Stefan Fischer on local production of pharmaceuticals as measure to overcome medicine shortages.

Over the last decade medicine shortages have been increasing. Among the policy measures to improve the resilience of the supply chain and thus to mitigate and prevent medicine shortages, reshoring of pharmaceutical production to Europe, in particular active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), has been proposed as one potential solution.

The lecture will highlight the current production(focusing on APIs) in Europe and will present initiatives where efforts were undertaken to strengthen European production. The focus of the lecture will lie on the potential benefits and the associated challenges of local pharmaceutical production. Furthermore, measures to strengthen the pharmaceutical supply chain will be discussed.

Stefan Fischer (Dipl.-Ges.ök) is a health economist and health expert at the Pharmacoeconomics Department at the Austrian National Public Health Institute (Gesundheit Österreich GmbH, GÖG).

Stefan Fischer is an expert in policy and pharmacoeconomics. He has extensive experience in international and national research of pharmaceutical systems and pharmaceutical policies, such as pricing and reimbursement of medicines. Stefan Fischer has also done deepening research regarding medicine shortages, the pharmaceutical supply chain and local production of medicines.

Welcoming and facilitation

Verena Knoll, MA 
Pharmacoeconomics Department,
Austrian National Public Health Institute (GÖG)

We look forward to your participation via Zoom and request online registration.

*** The event takes place in the framework of the European Public Health Week – Public health: Global issues, local actions ***

Online event: How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted international initiatives to improve access to medicines?

Event start date/time
Mon, 13 Dec 2021 17:30:00 +0100
Event end date/time
Mon, 13 Dec 2021 19:00:00 +0100
Event location
Online (via Zoom)
WHO Collaborating Centre for Pharmaceutical Pricing and Reimbursement Policies, Pharmaeconomics Department at the Austrian National Public Health Institute (Gesundheit Österreich GmbH)
Course language
Contact (Email)

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted key challenges for the provision and supply of essential medicines and laid bare the vulnerability of health systems in a global health crisis. Barriers to access include high prices, shortages, ineffective policies, and empty pipelines for new medicines. There is not only a need for rapid patient access to safe, effective, and affordable COVID-19 therapeutics, but also to medicines in further important therapeutic areas. In this context, numerous strategies have been discussed, piloted, and put in place to promote the development, production, procurement, distribution, and availability of urgently needed medicines. Tackling access to medicines as a global issue, various initiatives have been launched in recent years to pool resources, engage with stakeholders and cooperate across national borders.

Aim: The aim of the online event was to inform about initiatives in the pharmaceutical policy field, to present their objectives and activities, and to highlight the contributions of these initiatives to the management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Around 80 participants took part at the event. 


As an introduction Nina Zimmermann (Austrian National Public Health Institute - GÖG) asked the participants to list the key challenges with regard to access to medicines.

access pic

(High) prices of medicines, availability concerns, and lack of transparency were mentioned most frequently by the participants.

Pitch presentations of initiatives in the pharmaceutical policy field:

  • WHO Fair Pricing initiative - SLIDES (Kiusiang Tay-Teo, World Health Organization Headquarters)

The high price of many essential medicines is a major barrier to the goal of universal health coverage and primary health care. WHO works with Member States and partners to promote programs and policies that make medicines affordable and accessible to all people. As part of the initiative, WHO convenes a series of Fair Pricing Forums to enable stakeholders to discuss options for a fairer pricing system of medicine. In 2021 the Third Fair Pricing Forum was held online with 850 registrants from 125 countries. Five recurring themes could be identified in the debate: transparency is essential for improving access, collaboration across countries can facilitate affordable access, there is growing interest for public sector to play a greater role, a need to clarify affordability, and a need for developing policies to ensure affordable access to medical devices and in vitro diagnostics.

  • WHO Oslo Medicines Initiative - SLIDES (Sarah Garner, World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe)

The WHO Oslo Medicines Initiative “Better access to effective, novel, high-priced medicines – a new vision for collaboration between the public and private sectors” is an initiative of WHO/Europe, initiated together with the Norwegian Ministry of Health and Care Services and the Norwegian Medicines Agency in 2020. The Initiative provides a neutral platform for the public and private sectors and plans to reshape the political discourse by implementing pragmatic step-by-step solutions and by creating partnerships to build a movement for change. To achieve this, a mix of tools is used – e.g. engagement with stakeholders, series of webinars and technical briefings, publications, consultations and a high-level meeting in June 2022. At the Member State and non-state actor consultations and policy dialogues, the following key themes were mentioned: 

  • strong acknowledgement from public, private and nongovernmental organization stakeholders that the status quo in pharmaceutical innovation and novel medicines needs to change; 
  • a narrow low-volume, high-price marketing approach for novel products is not commensurate with achieving solidarity between companies, patients, and governments
  • Sustainability: If the justification for high costs was R&D/manufacturing, it is reasonable to ask for transparency on those costs

Sarah also mentioned a few concrete actions that will be discussed within this initiative – e.g. demand-based R&D systems that align with social needs rather than commercial interests or cross-country collaboration and pooled procurement.

  • Beneluxa Initiative and initiative “RWE4Decisions” - SLIDES Beneluxa, SLIDES RWE (Jo de Cock, Former CEO of the Belgian Health Belgian National Institute of Health and Disability Insurance (INAMI-RIZIV))

Jo presented the Beneluxa Initiative as a proof of concept for a ‘coalition of the willing’:  the Initiative is a voluntary cross-country collaboration of five countries (Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg, The Netherlands). The Beneluxa initiative aims to ensure sustainable access to, and appropriate use of, medicines in the participating countries. The countries collaborate on horizon scanning, HTA, pricing and reimbursement, and they exchange experiences in the field of pharmaceutical policies. Specific outcomes of the initiative so far include the publication of joint statements (e.g. assessment of COVID-19 monoclonal antibodies, high cost SMA treatments), joint negotiations for Zolgensma (BE, NL, IE) and joint assessments (e.g. Zolgensma, Zynteglo, Orkambi, etc.). As a spin-off the International Horizon Scanning Initiative is founded where also other (European) countries take part.

RWE4Decisions: Real-World Data (RWD) collection and Real-World Evidence (RWE) generation can play a critical role in assessing the value of treatments for patients and healthcare systems, as RWD can fill evidence gaps that might exist in clinical development programmes and bring insights into effectiveness in ‘real life’ settings. RWE4Decisions is a multi-stakeholder initiative which was initiated by the Belgian Health Insurance Fund (RIZIV / INAMI) that aims to agree what RWD can be collected for highly innovative technologies – when, by whom and how – in order to generate RWE that informs decisions by healthcare systems, clinicians and patients. Within the initiative public case study workshops and events are organised and engagement with other networks (CAPR, Nordic Alliance, Beneluxa etc.) is sought. Outcomes of the workshops and discussions include, among others:

  • Need for national or collaborative horizon scanning processes to identify eligible technologies for OBMEA (outcome-based managed entry agreements)
  • HTA/Payers need to clarify the decision relevant uncertainties and identify key clinical questions and the data to be collected
  • OBMEA should only be initiated when sufficient data can be collected to resolve decision relevant uncertainties
  • Financial investment in data infrastructure, collection and analysis is necessary

Jo stressed the importance that ongoing and structured iterative dialogues among stakeholders along the life cycle of a product should be developed further and that comprehensive guidance and improvement of the standards of RWD studies is needed.


All initiatives started before the COVID-19 pandemic and the speakers confirmed that their initiatives have proven to be beneficial in terms of mitigating the consequences of the pandemic – e.g. by contributing to standardization of information, by taking up the lessons learnt and by joining forces (e.g. in jointly assessing COVID 19 therapeutics within Beneluxa). 

Further topics that were addressed during the discussion:

  • In future, closer collaboration between different cross-border collaborations (e.g. Beneluxa and the Nordic Pharmaceutical Forum) and beyond Europe is planned
  • By engaging with the private sector, WHO is optimistic to move the dialogue further
  • The use of generics and biosimilars is promoted, while aiming to develop innovative policies

Hosting and moderation:
Sabine Vogler, Austrian National Public Health Institute (GÖG)



About the speakers:

Kiu  Kiusiang Tay-Teo

Kiusiang Tay-Teo PhD, is a Technical Officer at the WHO Headquarters’ Department of Health Products Policy and Standards. Dr Tay-Teo has more than 15 years of professional experiences in health and health economics, with his work spanning clinical practice, academia, industry, consulting and government. His current work at WHO Headquarters focuses on pricing policies of health products. Dr Tay-Teo was the principal author of the WHO 2018 Technical Report on Pricing of cancer medicines and its impacts; the technical lead for 2020 WHO guideline on country pharmaceutical pricing policies; one of the secretariat leads for the 2021 Fair Pricing Forum, and one of the main authors of a WHO report in 2021, entitled “Keeping the 100-year-old promise: Making access to insulin universal”.

SarahSarah Garner 

Sarah Garner PhD, BPharm is currently the Acting Regional Advisor, Access to Medicines and Health Products, WHO Regional Office for Europe. Sarah is a pharmacist specializing in global access issues and she is responsible for the strategic planning and delivery of policy dialogue and technical support to improve patient access. This includes pharmaceutical systems strengthening, regulation, selection, HTA, pricing and procurement. 

Jo Jo De Cock

Jo De Cock is Former CEO of the National Institute of Health and Disability Insurance (RIZIV-INAMI) in Belgium (1995-2021). He has obtained a master of law and a master of criminology from the Catholic University of Louvain, where he started his professional experience as a research assistant on the Institute of Social Security on the Faculty of Law (1977-1983). He continued his career by joining the Center for political, economical and social studies where he was researcher and political advisor. From the mid eighties until the beginning of the nineties he worked as a deputy director and counselor of social affairs in the office of the Belgian Prime Minister (1985-1993). Later on he filled the position of adjunct general administrator of the National Social Security Office (1993-1995).