Arun Narayan of Medicines for Europe’s Value Added Medicines Group has been working to promote the benefits of value added medicines and how real-world evidence must be considered. In a recent interview with PharmaBoardroom he elaborated on what some countries are already doing to adopt Value Added Medicines and the work that still must be done to help authorities recognise their value


There is compelling evidence about the deficiencies in the current system, and Value Added Medicines are stepping in to bridge those gaps and make up for those deficiencies.


Arun Narayan became the chair of the Value Added Medicines sector group at Medicines for Europe in November 2018. Medicines for Europe, which was formed 20 years ago as the European Generic Medicines Association, originally represented the emerging generic drug industry, and later grew to include biosimilars and most recently value added medicines. The sector group focuses on five pillars – patients, quality, value, sustainability and partnership – with the aim of providing European patient access to value added medicines, delivering considerable outcomes for patients, healthcare professionals and payers over existing alternatives. 


Narayan is also currently the Head of Global Portfolio Strategy at Mylan, one of over 15 companies participating in the Value Added Medicines Group.  He explained to PharmaBoardroom what Value Added Medicines are and the different ways they can be attained: “These are innovations that bring new and added value to known molecules. There are various ways through which we can achieve value addition like, repurposing, which means developing a new indication for an existing molecule; reformulation, which means changing the form in which a medicine is delivered; or creating a combination between a medicine and a device, or between two medicines.”


According to the OECD, adherence is a major contributing factor to rising healthcare costs in Europe. Narayan emphasized how these medicines can bring important value in reducing healthcare expenditure: “If we take the example of adherence, the OECD did a study in 2018 that showed that the lack of adherence alone costs European healthcare systems around 125 billion euros every year. There is compelling evidence about the deficiencies in the current system, and Value Added Medicines are stepping in to bridge those gaps and make up for those deficiencies… Adherence can be supported in various ways. The simplest way is to reduce the number of pills a patient must take, which can be done in one of two ways: one way is by making medicines long acting, the other is by combining medicines. Other more sophisticated areas would include drug/device combinations.”


Narayan chose to highlight the countries that currently recognise the benefits of Value Added Medicines; Belgium, in particular, is making strides in regulatory and pricing procedures which facilitate access: “Belgium has used a fairly simple and logical way to amend regulations and to recognize the value that is brought by Value Added Medicines, and they have already reviewed a few products through this pathway. Belgium is a shining example that we are using to share best practices with other regulators and pricing authorities to explain that there is significant value offered by Value Added Medicines and that not only NCEs can bring value.”