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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Medicines Australia and Patient Voice Initiative address crucial aspects of HTA Review

Health Industry Hub | May 5, 2023 |

Pharma News: Health Industry Hub hosted a discussion on the Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Review consultation with Liz de Somer, CEO of Medicines Australia and Jessica Bean, President of Patient Voice Initiative. This first consultation in a series aims to bring together the voices of diverse stakeholders, including the industry and patients.

While both acknowledged some aspects of the current HTA policy that are working and need to be kept, they also stressed the need to resolve delays to timely access of novel medicines, vaccines, and medical devices, and the limitations of patient input into the HTA process.

“What I’m concerned about is when I hear some people in government or in academia saying that they don’t think there is a lag and delay to accessing therapies, or that they believe that the delay is entirely on the part of the industry in negotiating for the price. We need to take our blinkers off and look at the big picture,” said Ms de Somer.

Ms Bean urged that consumers want to be seen and heard when it comes to getting medicines into the hands of patients through reimbursement.

“It’s one thing for a treatment not to be available for a patient community, it’s equally as heart-breaking to know that there’s a treatment available and to not be able to access it – to see your life deteriorating in very real ways and know that there’s a way to stop that,” said Ms Bean.

The panel emphasised the need to reach out to diverse communities, including Indigenous and rural populations, and to involve not only patient organisations but also clinicians in the process. They suggested that a flexible approach to capturing perspectives, beyond just consultation surveys, would be necessary to ensure that diverse voices are heard.

Ms Bean added “We have to be thinking about how we capture the patient voice right across the ecosystem, because by the time we’re getting to HTA, it’s almost too late. We need to make sure that we have measured the things that matter most to patient communities really early on as there’s mutual benefit in that too.”

In considering international best practice in HTA, Ms de Somer suggested reducing Australia’s high discount rate and aspiring to immediate access after TGA registration.

The discussion highlighted the importance of timely access, equity in healthcare and the need for a more inclusive and accessible approach to HTA. This review is an important step towards achieving these goals, and it is crucial that all voices are heard in the consultation process.

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