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.
Jon Sussex, Deputy Director of the OHE, researches incentives and competition in UK health services. In July, he presented findings on ‘Payment by Results’ to the Health and Social Care Conference held by the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations.
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.