Public Procurement and Innovation

At the eHealth Summit, the topic on Public Procurement and Innovation was discussed by a panel composed of Sérgio Alves Ribeiro, BAS, João Oliveira, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro Hospital Center, E.P.E., Pedro Adragão, of the Hospital Center of Western Lisbon, E.P.E. and Luís Melo Graça, of Johnson & Johnson, moderated by José Luís Esquível, Esquivel & Associados.

A diversified discussion panel allowed a fruitful analysis of the double perspective of this theme: on the one hand, how innovation influences and has influenced Public Procurement and, on the other hand, how Public Procurement can allow or allow access to innovation.

Regarding the first perspective, the main issue was the speed and transparency of pre-contractual procedures with the use of technological means. As for the second perspective of the discussion on the subject, it was essentially the manifestation of the desire for an ever closer relationship between the public health sector and industry, which allows the first to access and even contribute to innovation through partnerships with the latter.

This demand for innovation through Public Procurement is one of the main concerns expressed by the Community legislator in the 2014 Directives, especially the introduction of the Partnership for Innovation, whose success in practice is still difficult to foresee at this point, and the Electronic Catalogues, a figure that already has, in one of its possible aspects, experience in Portugal. The pursuit of innovation, or at least the concern to avoid that greater rigidity of public procurement rules is a deterrent to innovation or to its access by the public sector, doesn’t allow, even though it’s already present in the present national legislation, which are to a certain extent manifestations, namely the Competitive Dialogue, the Design Competition, the Dynamic Acquisition Systems, the permission in certain situations to alter contracted goods through Framework Agreements in the light of technological innovations and the prohibition of exclusion in the cases where the tenderer demonstrates that the solutions he presents satisfy, in an equivalent manner, the requirements defined by the specifications in tender documents.

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