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The European Union Joint Procurement Agreement for cross-border health threats: what is the potential for this new mechanism of health system collaboration?

  • Natasha Azzopardi-Muscat (a1) (a2), Peter Schroder-Bäck (a1) and Helmut Brand (a1)

Abstract

The Joint Procurement Agreement (JPA) is an innovative instrument for multi-country procurement of medical countermeasures against cross-border health threats. This paper aims to assess its potential performance. A literature review was conducted to identify key features of successful joint procurement programmes. Documentary analysis and a key informants’ interview were carried out to analyse the European Union (EU) JPA. Ownership, equity, transparency, stable central financing, standardisation, flexibility and gradual development were identified as important prerequisites for successful establishment of multi-country joint procurement programmes in the literature while security of supply, favourable prices, reduction of operational costs and administrative burden and creation of professional expert networks were identified as desirable outcomes. The EU JPA appears to fulfil the criteria of ownership, transparency, equity, flexibility and gradual development. Standardisation is only partly fulfilled and central EU level financing is not provided. Security of supply is an important outcome for all EU Member States (MS). Price savings, reduction in administrative burden and creation of professional networks may be particularly attractive for the smaller MS. The JPA has the potential to increase health system collaboration and efficiency at EU level provided that the incentives for sustained commitment of larger MS are sufficiently attractive.

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Corresponding author

*Correspondence to: Dr Natasha Azzopardi-Muscat, Department of Health Services Management, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Malta c/o Mater Dei Hospital, MSD 2090 Msida, Malta. Email: Natasha.azzopardi-muscat@um.edu.mt

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