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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Industry leaders reveal critical insights from HTAi meeting

Health Industry Hub | July 3, 2023 |

Pharma News: The HTAi 2023 Annual Meeting brought together a diverse range of stakeholders from the industry, government, patient groups, and academia to delve into the pressing issues surrounding health technology assessment (HTA). The conference, held last week in Adelaide, witnessed an engaging exchange of ideas and strategies on integrating evidence and decision-making in technology assessment, paving the way for future advancements in healthcare.

Elizabeth de Somer, CEO of Medicines Australia, unveiled the main takeaways from the HTAi conference, emphasising the unanimous agreement among stakeholders regarding the need for HTA reform. “The HTAi international gathering provided powerful confirmation that all stakeholders involved in healthcare agree on the principles of HTA reform to enable effective and faster delivery of advances in medicines and technologies to patients,” Ms de Somer told Health Industry Hub. “Australia is not alone in seeking to improve access to new medicines while navigating budget pressures. Many countries shared how they are attempting to address this challenge and we can learn a lot from their experiences and bold ideas.”

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Vanessa Xavier, Head of Market Access at Sanofi Australia & New Zealand, added to the discourse by stressing the importance of early and broad collaboration, not only within individual countries but also across nations. She said “Such collaboration is crucial to successfully meet the opportunities and tackle the HTA challenges associated with the call for earlier access to new and innovation treatments, the need to provide meaningful opportunities for engagement for those with lived experience and their support networks, the rise of artificial intelligence, and the need for all of us to do more to support environmental sustainability.”

Ms de Somer revealed that HTA agencies worldwide are increasingly recognising the importance of collaborating with industry to manage uncertainty without compromising patients’ access to crucial medications. This collaboration also enables the benefits of investing in the broader societal and cultural context. Additionally, updated research from Professor Frank Lichtenberg reaffirmed the significant reductions in hospital expenditures resulting from investments in new medicines and the subsequent decline in premature deaths due to innovation. These findings underscore the urgency of adopting a holistic approach to healthcare delivery.

Hayley Andersen, Head of Patient Advocacy and Policy at BMS, expressed her enthusiasm for the participation of patients and patient organisations at the HTAi meeting.

“Key findings from the Conversations for Change report were shared at the meeting. There is consensus across healthcare stakeholders that patients need to be equal partners in HTA and more importantly in healthcare decision making. The benefits of patient engagement can be utilised across the whole lifecycle of a medicine. We also heard this message throughout our own consultation earlier this year ahead of the launch of our whitepaper Bringing Patient Centricity to Life,” she told Health Industry Hub.

Given Australia’s recent Parliamentary inquiry into drug approval processes and the ongoing HTA Review, the timing of the HTAi meeting was particularly fitting, according to Greg Cook, Senior Director of Access, Policy, and Advocacy at BMS.

“Discussions at the conference centred around managing uncertainty while delivering faster access to medicines and new technologies. While managed access programs and streamlined processes post initial PBAC consideration were mooted as potential tools to improve timelines, trust, transparency and collaboration across all stakeholders were deemed as being an integral part of the solution,” he noted.

The HTAi conference also shed light on future opportunities and areas to explore based on the insightful discussions. Ms de Somer highlighted two clear priorities for moving forward. “Firstly, the need for reform to create interim funding options that will ensure faster access to patients and deliver certainty to industry and government. Secondly, earlier and better engagement with patients to ensure their values and preferences are considered fully when making funding decisions. While significant progress has been made in hearing the patient voice in the past decade, there is still significant room for improvement in engaging more effectively with the patient community.”

Furthermore, Ms Xavier stressed the importance of international collaboration between HTA agencies as the way forward. Andrew Wilson, Chair of the PBAC, highlighted this model as already being implemented in the regulatory environment. Through sharing knowledge and experiences, countries can learn from each other and work together to benefit patients and healthcare systems globally.

The HTAi 2023 meeting served as a platform for industry leaders, policymakers, patient advocates, and academia to come together and shape the future of HTA. Their shared vision for HTA reform, early collaboration, patient engagement, and international cooperation promises a more efficient and patient-centred approach to healthcare innovation. As these key takeaways from HTAi gain momentum, the healthcare industry eagerly anticipates the positive transformations that lie ahead.

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