Innovation: Paying Only For What Offers Better Health and Longer Life

NOV-DEC 2016|BY MARCOS GERASSOPOULOS, COUNTRY CHAIR GREECE, HEAD OF MCO GREECE AND CYPRUS, GEM GBU GENERAL MANAGER
How can we get the most value from public pharmaceutical expenditure?

During seven years of economic crisis in Greece, public spending on health has been decreased significantly. Stakeholders took tough decisions, implemented horizontal measures and transformations to decrease the health care expenditures, due to the memorandum. Now, we must consider the health needs of the Greek population and make strategic/justified decisions.

There is a growing recognition that no single part of the healthcare eco-system, in isolation, can provide a solution. Meaningful partnerships and a high level of collaboration between all stakeholders (Ministry of Health, EOPYY, EOF, Academia, Pharma) could develop the Greek medium- to long-term policy to improve health care services and secure the future of NHS.

It is important to recognize and analyze the needs of our population. If we address the annual health needs of patients, the diseases that impact the health states of large parts of the population, the diseases that have an increased financial impact on the NHS, we could make justified decisions to prevent and manage diseases.

Then we examine the budget. Is the fixed annual budget for public pharmaceutical expenditure a good model? Is this budget connected to patient needs? Does this budget improve or maintain the health status of Greek citizens?

We need to justify the fixed budget. IDIKA and EOPYY can effectively collaborate to develop robust data for the Greek population’s needs. National therapeutic area registries for those categories that impact the budget acutely can be a valuable data source. Disease registries could be an effective tool to gain insight and help us develop improved management strategies.

Another fundamental decision is how and at what price innovative medicines will be reimbursed. This is a difficult decision to make if you lack an HTA mechanism. We need to develop the right incentives of reimbursement to value innovative medicines. One way to get the most value from the fixed public pharmaceutical expenditure would be to move toward ‘value-based’ innovation, outcomes-based pricing models or value-based contracts. Also, the introduction of therapeutic protocols for the first four diseases is an important test from the Greek MoH to gauge how much more savings can be made. Finally, therapeutic protocols, the development of Rx incentives and the appropriate use of innovative medicines, the right medicine to the right patient, could secure savings.

The Time is Now

The challenge is to change the country’s healthcare policy. It is important that we start collecting data for the Greek population, analyze them, measure actual health outcomes, and take fair and reliable measures. Only if we tackle the healthcare cost curve by reducing overall healthcare costs and reward the long-term improvement of patients’ health will we get the most value from the public pharmaceutical expenditure.

Innovative medicines, that efficiently deal with disease, can have a positive impact on the healthcare cost curve. For example, innovative drugs may reduce the length of a hospital stay or the need for surgery, producing significant savings in other cost centers of the health system.

To shape tomorrow’s health needs we must adopt a holistic approach today. The Ministry of Health, EOPYY, EOF, Academia and Pharmaceutical companies should together drive the NHS on a more sustainable path and develop value assessment frameworks for innovation.

The biggest beneficiary of a sustainable NHS will be patients, who will receive better care and have access to the best innovative medicine.

Who doesn’t want to pay only for what offers better health and longer life?

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