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Webinar: WHO Europe’s Access to Novel Medicine Platform and Support for HTA in the WHO European Region

21 September 2023 @ 7:00 am - 8:00 am

WHO Europe’s Access to Novel Medicine Platform and Support for HTA in the WHO European Region

An HTAi Webinar in Collaboration with WHO Europe

WHO’s European Program of Work 2020–2025, “United Action for Better Health,” highlights the importance of equitable and sustainable access to quality medicines in order to achieve universal health coverage and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Access to medicines and health products works at the interface of three SDGs: SDG 3 – good health and well-being; SDG 9 – industry, innovation and infrastructure; and SDG 17 – partnerships for the Goals. There have been major strides in biopharmaceutical research and advances in prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment in recent decades, thanks to investment from the public and private sectors. However, all countries in the WHO European Region have voiced concern over the escalating prices, affordability of medicines and especially the budgetary impact of novel medicines, which has led to restricted patient access, increased inequities and to financial hardship.

During the webinar, the panelists will explore:

  • The background and context of WHO Europe’s Access to Novel Medicines Platform (NMP) and moderate the session.
  • The HTA work WHO is doing within the WHO European Region.
  • Estonia’s experience with updating the guideline for HTA of pharmaceuticals to inform reimbursement decisions with stakeholders, in particular highlighting the consideration of rare diseases and real world data for novel medicines.
  • The patient perspective for getting access to novel cancer medicines in Europe and how HTA can assist with that.
  • The industry perspective about supporting access to novel medicines for patients and HTA can assist with that and on how the value assessments may need to evolve if at all to facilitate this access.
  • How NMP can work with the stakeholders to alleviate and mitigate these challenges and improve the access for patients.

Date and Time

September 21, 2023 | 07.00 – 08.00 MDT (UTC -6)





Sarah Garner

Sarah Garner PhD, BPharm is currently the Senior Policy 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.   Her previous roles have included the Coordinator for the ‘Innovation, Access and Use’ Team in the Essential Medicines and Health Products Department at WHO HQ and the Associate Director for Science Policy and Research at the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), and Pharmacist Lead for the UK Government’s Special Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance.   Sarah is the technical lead for the Oslo Medicines Initiative and has led policy work-packages of public private research partnerships funded by the EU Innovative Medicines Initiative (GetReal, ADAPTSMART and Big Data for Better Outcomes) which have developed policy proposals for the adaptive pathways and use of real-word data in pharmaceutical development, regulatory and HTA decision making. In 2010-11 Sarah was a Harkness Fellow in Healthcare Policy and Practice in the United States. Her research examined the impact of comparative effectiveness research and Health Technology Assessment on pharmaceutical and MedTech innovation.   Sarah is an honorary professor at University College London and Manchester Universities with over 90 publications in peer reviewed journals.

Tarang Sharma

Tarang Sharma, PhD, MSc, MPH, has over two decades of experience as a public health researcher and global health advocate. She currently works for the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe as a Technical Officer for the Novel Medicines Platform, working to support strategic cooperation between all stakeholders for improved access of medicines to patients and supporting health technology assessments for the Region. Prior to this, she worked for the Agenda, Policy & Strategy unit in the Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals department at the WHO HQ in Geneva, supporting evidence to policy recommendations for the new COVID-19 vaccines and has previously worked for evidence to policy impact and health research mechanisms both at WHO HQ and WHO Europe as a senior consultant and a technical officer. She has worked for three different national governments, in USA (AMNH in New York City as a Research Associate), in UK (for NICE as a Senior Analyst) and in Denmark (for the Danish Medicines Council: Medicinrådet, as a Specialist Consultant). She has also worked for non-governmental agencies/ non-state actors with the Nordic Cochrane Centre (now referred to as Cochrane Denmark) in Denmark as well as part of the Cochrane Central Executive Team at their headquarters in London, UK and previously for Akanksha and Kutumb Foundations in India. She has worked as a health economist for the University of Sheffield in UK and for Novo Nordisk A/S in Denmark and on pre-clinical research as a Research Scientist for Ranbaxy laboratories Ltd (now bought by Sun Pharma) in India.

Mariliis Põld

Mariliis Põld, PhD, MPH is an analyst at the Centre for Health Technologies Assessment and a lecturer at the Institute of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of Tartu. With a background in both clinical and administrative roles, Mariliis contributes a well-rounded perspective to the field of health technology assessment. Currently, Mariliis is leading a dedicated working group focused on updating the guidelines for health technology assessment. This task is of significant importance, particularly given the ongoing changes in the development and implementation of health technologies in Estonia.

Bettina Ryll

Bettina Ryll MD, PHD, is the founder of the Melanoma Patient Network Europe and was member of the first EU Cancer Mission Board. A physician by training and with a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from University College London, she became a patient advocate after losing her husband to cancer.   Her work focuses on patient-centric innovation, covering the full spectrum from basic research over successful translation and clinical trials to timely and equitable implementation. Most recently and trigged by her work on the EU Cancer Mission Board, her particular interest has been how to best leverage the potential of personalized medicine for patients and society through novel forms of collaboration and the support of health policy and governance.   Bettina Ryll currently works as strategist for Vision Zero Cancer, a mission-driven innovation ecosystem in health financed by Sweden’s Innovation Agency Vinnova.

Matias Olsen

Matias Olsen is the Public Affairs and Policy Manager for the European Confederation of Pharmaceutical Entrepreneurs (EUCOPE). Matias supports EUCOPE on key topics, covering among others, implementation of EU HTA, advanced diagnostics, Real-World Evidence, the Patent Package, Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan and relevant market access topics. He coordinates members’ thematic working groups, including the P&R/Market Access Working Group, the Genomics Working Group and the EU HTA Regulation Task Force. Matias has previously advocated on behalf of European cancer patients and worked in the Norwegian Social Security Administration, with reimbursement of medical devices and coordination of social security within the EU/EEA.


21 September 2023
7:00 am - 8:00 am
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