Value Added Medicines (VAMs) are medicines based on known molecules that address healthcare needs and deliver relevant improvements for patients and healthcare professionals. VAMs are key drivers for access to medicines and are increasing patient quality of life for chronic diseases, while offering significant benefits to the healthcare community, according to Medicines for Ireland (MFI).
VAMs offer a wide range of benefits, from ensuring better adherence and compliance, to keeping healthcare costs down by reducing the need for patients to be moved to expensive next-line therapies, said the organisation. The importance of using VAMs to address unmet medical needs in a timely and cost-effective manner has been highlighted during the Covid-19 pandemic, it added.
MFI has published its new report focused on the benefits of using VAMs in an EU context. Value Added Medicines: Advancing Medicine Repurposing in the EU builds on the 2021 published report, Discussion Document on the Contribution of Value Added Medicines (VAMs) in Ireland. It was produced in conjunction with MFI’s sister organisation, Medicines for Europe.
The 2022 report stresses that in order to make medicine repurposing a success on an EU level, we need to employ all resources at hand to connect different actors. One such connection which can uniquely be addressed by the EU is to assist academia and non-commercial stakeholders in conducting research, as well as facilitating their partnering with the industry in making repurposed medicines available to patients.
The early involvement of industry in repurposing projects opens a range of opportunities, like new indications, different/adjusted delivery forms, changing dosage, and combining different therapies to meet the needs of the patient community and to bring to market new treatment options in an accessible and affordable way.
Furthermore, for more repurposing projects to come to fruition, Ireland needs to adapt the EU pharmaceutical ecosystem, starting with recognising the need for a tailored development approach for VAMs, including repurposed medicines, said MFI. VAMs should be acknowledged as a separate group of medicines in EU legislation, it said.
“Ireland can learn a lot from our EU peers. The industry needs to continually innovate, meanwhile, the State and regulators still have an important role to play,” said Mr Padraic O’Brien, Chairperson of MFI. “We need a system that rewards innovation with appropriate incentives, whilst recognising the potential long-term value and savings that VAMs can bring to the State.
“At MFI, we are committed to improving patient care and delivering value to the HSE and are proud to drive stakeholder engagement on this important topic,” added Ms Clodagh Kevans, Chair of the MFI VAM Committee. “We believe that we need a new and simplified regulatory pathway for VAMs in Ireland, which would bring us into line with other major European countries to ensure that our patients and healthcare system are not left behind.
“We also need a shift in mindset from one that focuses purely on cost, to an outlook that is centred around better outcomes for patients taking a holistic look at the whole patient journey,” she continued.
Read the 2022 report at: http://www.medicinesforireland.ie/ wp-content/uploads/2022/05/ Value-Added-Medicines-Advancing-Medicines-Repurposing-in-the- EU-MFE-MFI-report-.pdf .