Dominique Hamerlijnk from Amsterdam, one of our very active Patient Ambassadors, attended the International Society for Pharmacoeconomic and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) Conference in Milan in November. She took part in the patient representative Roundtable at the event.
This was the 4th Patients Representatives Roundtable at an ISPOR conference. The purpose of the Roundtable is to give patient representatives an opportunity to learn and discuss how patients can participate in the research and assessment of a new health technology (drugs, medical devices, diagnostics, biopharmaceuticals, vaccines) and increase their involvement in health policy decisions.
A wide variety of patient representatives participated in the Roundtable and shared many experiences in the use and effect of Health Technology Assessments (HTA) in decision making for a large number of diseases. Patient involvement in the HTA process is key as this is the most used assessment by governments for the decisions on reimbursement and use of new drugs, medical devices, diagnostic tools, biopharmaceuticals or vaccines.
An important issue was he problems many countries face with increased costs of health care. How do you weigh costs in health care to the investment in better health and value in the lives of patients? Are HTA a hindrance or a means of speeding up the process of making new developments and innovation in health care available to patients?
Most of the patient representatives at the Roundtable felt that is was necessary to involve patients early and deeply in the HTA process. Helping patients to become the best advocate they can be in this process is key. This will also help the HTA professionals to see the benefit of involving patients and how this can benefit their own work as well.