Innovation

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.

Data exclusivity is critical to ensuring that biosimilars achieve an appropriate balance between increasing market competition and encouraging innovation. The history of 'traditional generics' is a poor guide; biosimilars possess critically different characteristics. In the seminar, Prof Grabowski explored these differences and presented his analyses of data exclusivity requirements for biologics/biosimilars.

The availability of biosimilars -- ‘copies’ of biologics -- is very recent and limited so far to only a few products. Projecting the impact on markets of the appearance of ‘biosimilars’ is still difficult, both for individual products and for the market as a whole. This the first in a series of blog posts about the issues, as discussed at an OHE-sponsored seminar.

In a recent OHE Briefing, five leading European experts in health economics provide a comprehensive international review of changes in health economic evaluation and the reasons for them. The authors express concern that the basis for health care decision making today has evolved away from the societal perspective of cost benefit analysis to the payer perspective of cost-effectiveness analysis.

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