On 17 May 2021, the Expert Panel on Effective Ways of Investing in Health (EXPH) published its final opinion on public procurement in healthcare systems.
Aim of the call for opinion to the EXPH was to consider the challenges that arise with public procurement and any potential solutions to them within healthcare systems. To this extent – taking into account the work done by the European Commission, OECD, WHO and other sources of reported examples/existing studies/analysis – the Expert Panel was requested to provide its analysis on the following points:
(a) To identify health sector specific challenges in relation to public procurement.
(b) To identify health technology specific challenges (medicines, equipment, medical devices, e-health, services, etc.) in relation to public procurement with a focus on what award criteria beyond ‘lowest price’ should be introduced according to Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT)
(c) To analyse to what extent centralised procurement (bringing together several procurers at subnational or national level or between Member States) can be applied to ensure maximum efficiency, also taken account of institutional features (such as the health system’s organisation)
(d) To reflect what further EU cooperation can be developed.
The EXPH made a series of recommendations designed to strengthen the procurement process, including stressing the importance of using procurement to promote the goals of the health system, and specifically the interests of patients.