As I’ve often said before, medical innovation doesn’t matter if people don’t have access to it. It may surprise you that obtaining regulatory approval does not guarantee the accessibility of a medicine. In many countries, new treatments and interventions go through a Health Technology Assessment (HTA) process to determine their availability to patients via the nation’s reimbursement system. Governments use HTA to determine if a medicine offers value for money in comparison to alternative treatments. The process takes into consideration the impact on the health budget and other social, ethical and logistical aspects.
Since the HTA process leads to the decision of whether or not patients will have access to a specific medicine, they should be involved in the process. As Dr. Karen Facey, past chair of the HTAi Interest Group for Patient/Citizen Involvement in HTA, explains, “when considering the value of a new treatment, not just science matters. Patients have a unique knowledge and perspectives that could be contributed, because only patients know what it is really like to live with an illness”.
Learn more! Visit the newly launched Medicine Evaluation Educational Training (eMEET) website. eMEET uses a variety of tools to educate people about the drug discovery and HTA processes. It also shows how valuable patients’ experiences are to these complex processes, and how we can all participate in the decisions made. We hope you will take the training and become involved in ensuring patients have access to the medicines they need. You can also find more information about the eMEET here.