Saturday, 31 May 2014
Value in Cancer Care- ASCO session
I went to the industry and oncologist perspective on value in cancer care- very insightful!
While the speaker from industry stressed the need for return for investment, he also acknowledged the need for a re-thinking of the system. There are already a number of interesting pricing systems out there, e.g. only paying if a therapy works- need to look into that.
The oncologist made the point that oncologists have the responsibility to try and save unnecessary costs (like unnecessary imaging) to reduce health care cost, before limited budgets lead to the limitation of access to potentially beneficial treatments. He made very insightful comparisons about the size of the health budgets- if you think it's enormous, it is even more than that! He didn't have slides but I will see whether I can get the clip, I really liked the examples he gave but want to double-check before posting!
Unfortunately, I couldn't make it to the first part of the session but will definitely watch them later as I think that this is an important topic.
The theatre was packed demonstrating the interest in the topic- the last speakers said: 10 years ago such a session wouldn't have existed- and I think the BIG point here is to get all stakeholder together and to discuss this problem while respecting everyone's perspective because let's face it, things will only change if everyone gains in the process!
What I think what is increasing is the recognition that there must be an incentive for innovation (why do it otherwise?) and this is something we as advocates will have to think harder about as well.
If Melanoma patients and others with similarly desperate cancers want to live- and there is no doubt about that- they need new therapies. While in times of unlimited resources, 'just' throwing money at the problem might have looked like a solution (but even then, we need the RIGHT new drugs, not just new drugs), we all know that this is not the reality but that we have to accept a limited budget (besides, who even as a patient wants to pay even more health insurance?).
So we have to find a way to get new therapies that are BOTH profitable AND affordable- to make sure that we get new therapies coming in the first place and then actually also get access to them- now that would be something to advocate for.
Somehow I think that the economy of innovation will be a topic to work on :-)
The program below, I will see whether there is a way to access the clips from the sessions-
Can We Find Common Ground? Stakeholder Perspectives on Value in Cancer Care