The availability of oncological medicines: will the procedure of reimbursement become clearer?

2019-06-05

The availability of oncological medicines: will the procedure of reimbursement become clearer?

2019-06-05

Starting with July 1st, 2019, a new health technology assessment (HTA) model should come into force. This model still raises a lot of doubts about whether it will ensure access to the newest medicines. Yesterday, on the 4th of June, a discussion on this matter took place – doctors, patients, innovative medicines manufacturers, and decision-makers participated.

The discussion was initiated to bring focus towards the criterion and possible dangers that the new HTA model brings to medicines used to treat oncological and rare diseases. Local American Working Group, together with Innovative Pharmaceutical Industry Association (IFPA), Lithuanian Society of Hematology (LHD), Lithuanian Society of Oncology (LOD) and Patient Organization “Kraujas” gathered all stakeholders to fix existing and avoid future issues.

“The new procedure will only be sustainable if there is dialogue and effective involvement of patients and healthcare professionals in the drug evaluation process. At the same time, the evaluation system should become more flexible, which would ensure the availability of new innovative medicines to Lithuanian patients and allow timely management of the disease” said Agnė Gaižauskienė, IFPA Director.

Professor dr. Laimonas Griškevičius said that the medicines’ reimbursement system that has been in place for over ten years now, discriminates the most vulnerable oncological patients, and the new procedure will make the situation even more difficult.

The main problem with determining the therapeutic value of medicinal products is that one of the most important indicators is overall survival. It is very difficult to get a general survival data when investigating new oncological medicines, therefore LAWG’s Ruta Pumputiene recommends taking an example from foreign countries, which have found a set of other solutions which ensure easier compensation of new medicines.

“While in different countries discussions are taking place and HTA models are being improved, new medicinal products are finding their way into reimbursable medicines’ list. They are reimbursed not because of overall survival rates, but to the period in which the oncological disease does not progress. We should pay attention to the good practices of these countries and apply it in Lithuania. For all of us, the most important thing is to find solutions to help Lithuanian patients who are waiting for treatment” – says Pumputiene.