Patient Access

Status: active

Ensuring Patient Access to Medicines in Austria and the EU by Improving the Pharmaceutical Value Chain

Key facts

– Project runtime: September 2021 to September 2023
– Initiated by the Federal Ministry Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection and supported by the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs – Commissioned and funded by the European Commission through the Technical Support Instrument
– Bringing together an international team of experts, ensuring continuous stakeholder engagement throughout the project


Pharmaceutical innovation has greatly expanded the range of medical conditions that can be effectively treated. Medicines are often an essential component of healthcare. Patients have come to expect fast, equitable and continued access to the latest medicines at prices they can afford. Increasingly, however, governments are faced with challenges that threaten their ability to ensure such access. New innovative medicines on the market and their high prices force payers to set limits on what will be reimbursed to protect the long-term sustainability of health care systems. Meanwhile, weaknesses in the global pharmaceutical value chains are threatening continuous supply and are causing medicine shortages.
Across the European Union, there are growing concerns about the factors, such as availability and accessibility, that are hindering patients’ access to medicines and that are deepening existing inequities between EU Member States. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed systemic weaknesses but has also shown that Member States can take steps to improve access to medicine through collaboration and coordination.
Austria recognizes the many challenges to ensuring patient access to medicine and is looking for ways to strengthen the pharmaceutical value chain in Austria. These actions are intended to be complementary to the ongoing revision of the EU general pharmaceutical legislation by the European Commission.

Project outcomes to expect

The project aims to provide policymakers with actionable and sustainable solutions to strengthen the pharmaceutical value chain and improve access to medicine for Austrian patients. It will hereto identify the main access barriers and weaknesses in the value chain from an Austrian perspective. Solutions will be developed in consultation with a broad range of stakeholders. Learnings transferable to other EU Member States will be generated and disseminated.

Background and Funding

Following submission of the project proposal to the European Commission by the Austrian authorities
at the end of 2020, it was selected for funding through the Technical Support Instrument in early 2021.
This instrument provides Member States with the necessary on the ground support to overcome
reform challenges and enable smart, sustainable, and socially responsible reforms to strengthen the
resilience of the European economies and societies.

Project Team

An international Consortium of experts, bringing together expertise in Public Health, Health Economics, medical research, pharmaceutical regulation and legislation, innovation, economic analysis, policy analysis, strategy, and implementation support as well as in-depth knowledge of the Austrian and European System has been assembled to perform the project tasks.