April 1, 2017

Learning to say no

Cost effective but unaffordable: an emerging challenge for health systems

There are big questions unanswered in health policy, and the social willingness to pay for a costly and effective technology is one of them. In a recent article, a description and controversies of NHS budget impact policies are explained:
The budget impact test means that technologies costing the NHS more than an additional £20m a year will be “slow tracked,” regardless of their cost effectiveness or other social or ethical values. This risks undermining the existing opportunity costs framework.
Therefore if there is a costly and effective therapy that has an impact budget greater than 20m, than next steps are uncertain in UK. This is the setting.
Really this affects all health politicians, and the issue is related to prioritisation and price regulation. The "solution" to the first issue is to delay prioritisation to the next minister, and what it is possible is to renegotiate prices of drugs. As I have said many times, prices are a fiction, because what it is under negotiation is a contract with the government, therfore the whole amount (p·q).
Budget impact is essentially the price per patient multiplied by the number of patients treated. Yet the prevalence of someone’s condition should not determine their access to treatment. The principle of equity means that like cases should be treated as like; the NHS Constitution requires the NHS to respond to the clinical needs of patients as individuals.
Righ now in Catalonia cost-effectiveness is a also a fiction, since prices are confidential, and it is not possible to estimate the ratio. Budget impact is the option.

Prix Pictet. Photo Exhibition in Barcelona
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