eunethta proposal on HTA collaboration in Europe open for public consultation

The EUnetHTA has issued a proposal on building a European health technology assessment collaboration. The EUnetHTA Collaboration aims at contributing towards comprehensive, coordinated health technology assessment and provision of expert HTA input to inform health policies in Europe. Several workstreams are underway and can be found at http://www.eunethata.net/


Oncology to outgrow global pharma market

A new report from bionest partners outlines future trends of the oncology market. The area of oncology is posed for high growth, with Roche/Genentech to lead the pack - however strong competition to be expected. Biologics will be one of the main growth drivers with pricing and market access challenges ahead.


Pharmaceutical innovation in Europe, a call to action by Arthur Higgins - EFPIA president

In a recent conference in Portugal the EFPIA president adressed innovation issues in Europe and called for action on four areas, such as better patient access to new discoveries whereby Health Technology Assessment should not be used as a means of restricting access to new medicines, fair reward for innovation - including incremental innovation, strong intellectual property protection and new thinking to balance healthcare costs - shift away from the cost of medicines to their value.


European School of Health Economics - the 2008 course program is out

Dr. Gisela Kobelt is hosting again the annual course of Health Economics in Cannes. Its a great combination of academic and industry faculty covering a broad and global spectrum from technical aspects to health policy issues. Needless to say that the location is fun especially around spring time...


Cost-benefit evaluations of drugs as an instrument of health policy - new insights from Australia, Canada and the UK

HealthEcon in Switzerland published a very interesting book (so far in German only) on experiences with HTA agencies in these three countries. The author - Rainer Rohrbacher - concludes that these types of government interventions have not lead to the desired impact on drug spending nor improved the quality of provision with medicines in these centralized healthcare systems...

New monograph on biotechnology drugs published in Spanish Journal for Health Economics

The fall edition of the ReES (Spanish Journal of health economics) has a special edition on biotech drugs. Articles are both in Spanish and English on actual topics such as EU regulatory issues, bio similares, innovation and patents, manufaturing and economic evaluation of biologics etc. A great read! Check it out...

How to move the QALY forward?

The ongoing QALY debatte was once again focus of a workshop organized by ISPOR in Philadelphia (Nov. 7-8). Proceedings will be posted at the ISPOR webpage in early 2008.


Value based pricing soon in the UK?

Earlier this year the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) recommended to the UK government that the PPRS should be reformed substantially. The idea is to get more 'bang for the buck' on a given budget. The question remains how prices will turn out in relation to the NICE QALY theshold? It remains to be seen if there will be price increases in drugs with relatively cheap QALYs already funded and decreases be negotiated on those with a higher cost per QALY than the threshold? More open questions such as what will be conisdered cost-effcetive etc. remain open, however for sure is that there are important changes ahead for the UK HTA scene.

VfA: confusions around methods at IQWIG in Germany

The German pharma industry organization (VfA) critizised in a recent press release (8th of November) in relation to the 3rd anniversary of the IQWIG institute the confusion around methods that are not coherent with international standards for pharmacoeconomics.
As we know the institute apparently has hired a group of experts to shape is methodological direction. For sure developments in Germany remain interesting to say the least... Ulla Schmid, the German health minister however was quated to not having any intention to regulate pharmaceutical prices before launch..


Health Economics survey of European hospital pharmacies

An interesting survey has been conducted by Caro Research Institute with EU hospital pharmacists. As they are vital in hospital formulary decision making in many countries it appears that they could benefit from expanded knowledge about health economics in order to fully appreciate the dosiers presented to them. The authors of the survey encourage pharmaceutical companies to make a greater effort to collaborate with clinical experts in the dissemination of economic data in timely and transparent drug reviews.

Valuing biotech drugs - improved portfolio valuations by incorporating outcomes based access analysis

With the ever increasing access hurdles introduced by health technology assessment agencies, product valuations at early development stages depend increasingly on their inherent pricing assumptions in relation to outcomes based market assess (in other words the price at which a product is deemed cost-effective and worth reimbursing in the eyes of payors). In a recent article we examined the increasing role of health economics in make or break decisions for lisencing in the biotech industry. We belive that pharmacoeconomic considerations will have to play a greater role in complementing traditional valuation methods for new products in order to capture the full commercialization risk spectrum.


QALY time - Again!

... the never ending QALY discussion has been revisited by the BMJ in summer. Looks like with all the talk and difficulties associated around QALYs its time to bring some more economics back into the field and grow out a bit of the doctrin of biostatistics. In that regard a highly recommend the article from John FP Bridges "What can economics add to health technology assessment? Please not just another cost-effectiveness analysis!" http://www.future-drugs.com/doi/abs/10.1586/14737167.6.1.19


New master programe in health economics: "International Pharmacoeconomics and Health Economics" in Idstein, Germany

A new innovative degree can be obtained from the programe of the Europa Fachhochschule Fresenius and Cardiff University...

The earnings of US health economists

For all of you on the job hunt - especially considering the exploding demand for health economists that maybe the article to have ...$170.000 on average for health economists in the for profit setting - $200.000 on average for those with PhDs. Source: Journal of Health Economics 26 (2007) 358–372

Health and Pharmacoeconomics for biotech CEOs

Yali Friedman, the author of "Building biotech" and editor of http://www.biotechblog.com/ is writing his new book for biotech executies. Stephen Russell, a business partner, and myself are contributing a chapter called "Maximizing the strategic impact of health- and pharmacoeconomics in biotechnology companies." We are looking forward to Yali's new book. Watch out his blog for more news...


Economics of Biologics

Last year,a conference was organized in Durban, South Africa on the economics of biologics drugs. More and more medicines will have a biologic origin in the future but increasingly economic considerations are hindering their uptake.. attached presentations give an introductiuon into the topic as well as an overview on market trends for biologics

Patient access to cancer dugs

Together with the Karolinska Institut we published a couple of month age a report examining the patient access of cancer drugs in Spain. The report caused an interesting debate in Spain about regional inequalities in patients access to novel cancer drugs. The Spanish minister of health, Elena Salgado, recently cited the propositions made in the report as appropriate measures in improving the situation.
It seems to me that this type of evidence is a unique way of adressing economic issues beyond the individual cost-effectiveness analyses of drugs that may not have the desired impact on a macroeconomic scale in securing funding for innovative cancer medicines. I am sure we see more projects of this type also in other disease areas..

See also my interview with El Mundo (in Spanish).


IQWIG method paper in development

The German pharma industry association has recently circulated a briefing document around the new method paper/process of IQWIG assessment in Germany. As it looks like only after a relative effectiveness assessment has been proven better utility for the new drug - as before based on RCT's only! - a cost-benefit assessment will be conducted... (still max prices apparently will apply) modeling and QALY's should apparently not be part of the equation... the industry association protests against missing international standards.. Germany's HTA remains mysterious so far.