Open Access Highly Accessed Debate

Market access agreements for pharmaceuticals in Europe: diversity of approaches and underlying concepts

Szymon Jarosławski12 and Mondher Toumi3*

Author Affiliations

1 Creativ-Ceutical, 215, rue du Faubourg St-Honoré, 75008 Paris - France

2 Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology, Biotech Park, Electronics City Phase I, 560100 Bangalore - India

3 University Claude Bernard Lyon I, UFR d'Odontologie, 11, rue Guillaume Paradin, 69372 LYON CEDEX 08 - France

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Health Services Research 2011, 11:259  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-11-259

Published: 8 October 2011



Market Access Agreements (MAA) between pharmaceutical industry and health care payers have been proliferating in Europe in the last years. MAA can be simple discounts from the list price or very sophisticated schemes with inarguably high administrative burden.


We distinguished and defined from the health care payer perspective three kinds of MAA: Commercial Agreements (CA), Payment for Performance Agreements (P4P) and Coverage with Evidence Development (CED). Apart from CA, the agreements assumed collection and analysis of real-life health outcomes data, either from a cohort of patients (CED) or on per patient basis (P4P). We argue that while P4P aim at reducing drug cost to payers without a systematic approach to addressing uncertainty about drugs' value, CED were implemented provisionally to reduce payer's uncertainty about value of a medicine within a defined time period.


We are of opinion that while CA and P4P have a potential to reduce payers' expenditure on costly drugs while maintaining a high list price, CED address initial uncertainty related to assessing the real-life value of new drugs and enable a final HTA recommendation or reimbursement and pricing decisions. Further, we suggest that real cost to health care payers of drugs in CA and P4P should be made publicly available in a systematic manner, to avoid a perverse impact of these MAA types on the international reference pricing system.