Every country around the globe struggles with attaining an appropriate balance between providing affordable health care and ensuring access to medical advances. In a recent article in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, Prof Adrian Towse examines the issues from a UK perspective. Managing and containing costs in the NHS is a perennial challenge. Far less clear is how to accomplish this while still ensuring sufficient incentives for timely access to new medical therapies, particularly new medicines.
Since 2007, new medications may be paid for by the statutory health insurance funds (GKV) in Germany only if they are cost-effective. Willingness-to-pay analyses can be essential background for decisions about the pricing and reimbursement of prescription medicines.
Debate continues about the methods that the UK’s NICE uses in its appraisals of medical technologies, including whether effects beyond the NHS should be considered using a cost-benefit approach. Examining economic appraisal guidelines issued by other official agencies offers an important opportunity to set NICE’s perspective in context. Ruth Puig-Peiró, an economist at the OHE, is engaged in research that examines how and how much various official UK guidelines differ.
QALY measures have become important tools in valuing health interventions so that resource allocations can be made. Current methods, however, may not adequately capture QALYs for cancer patients, particularly in the last years of life. This post reviews the issues and suggests next steps.
The EuroQol Group's 27th Scientific Plenary will take place in mid-September. Researchers will report on several exciting developments in the EQ-5D, a measure of self-reported health widely used in research and in the NHS PROMs programme. Professor Nancy Devlin (OHE) and Professor Jan van Busschbach (Erasmus MC) are the joint Scientific Chairs.
HTAinSite is a unique resource that enables subscribers to quickly find relevant information on NICE technology appraisal (TA) decisions and the evidence used to support them. Launched in May 2009, the project is a collaboration involving the OHE, City University London and Abacus International.
Tensions between broad access to new medical technologies and efforts to contain health care costs are perennial. In recent years, this has become evident in the uncomfortable discontinuities that can occur between health technology assessment (HTA) and regulatory approval of medicines. In autumn 2009, OHE and the Institute for Regulatory Science at CMR International collaborated on a two-day workshop on the issues raised.
In an article in Health Economics, Prof Devlin and her co-authors demonstrate the promise of using Lead Time TTO to value health 'state worse than death'. They demonstrate the potential advantages of the approach and identify important next steps in developing the methodology.
The OHE has won a £325,000 grant from the UK Department of Health that focuses on developing a new health status index – the 5 level EQ-5D --that will capture smaller changes in health related quality of life.