With orphan drugs, rising cancer costs and risk sharing agreements high on the agenda in the world of health economics and outcomes research, ProClinical decided to look back over some of the main talking points from the ISPOR 17th Annual European Congress in Amsterdam.
The ISPOR Annual European Congress this year took place in the beautiful city of Amsterdam, a fine setting and a marvellous turn out. According to ISPOR President Adrian Towse, attendance increased by an estimated 10% at this year's European conference and it is testament to the great work that they are doing that the 17th Annual European Conference attracted over 4,300 pharmacoeconomics, outcomes research and market access professionals from far and wide. I was of course in attendance in Amsterdam, keeping up-to-date with developments and representing ProClinical, networking with industry contacts and recruiting new candidates for our latest HEOR jobs.
Below is my summary of the main points at the conference that really got the pharmacoeconomics and outcomes research crowd talking:
Rare diseases and orphan drugs
Rare diseases and orphan drugs was certainly high on the agenda – namely the challenges in gaining access to drugs for patients. This debate was sparked by the challenges that many pharmaceutical companies have in gaining reimbursement. Due to the cost of therapies in many areas, health authorities often feel the need to issue recommendations that drugs should only be funded if important conditions are met, including coordinating prescriptions through an expert centre. This once again reignited the debate around profit versus ethics in the pharmaceutical industry - a debate that does not appear to be going away any time soon.
The rising cost of cancer treatments
Another topic which generated much interest and debate at the ISPOR conference, was the issue around rising costs of cancer treatments and the question as to whether it is sustainable. This is something that has been particularly prevalent this year as Roche struggles to gain reimbursement for their breast cancer product, Kadcyla. In addition to this, government funding for the development of cancer drugs is set to expire at the end of March 2016, which could spell tough times ahead. Funding for cancer research is considered vital and, should this financial support not be renewed, this will pose challenges for pharmaceutical companies going forward, who may be forced to cut back on R&D costs.
Risk sharing agreements
And finally, there was a passionate discussion about the increase in the number of risk-sharing agreements between healthcare institutions and pharmaceutical companies. These schemes reduce the payer exposure to the financial risk associated with the introduction of a new health care intervention but can include high administration costs, lack of transparency and conflicts of interest. Ultimately, health authorities can potentially end up funding an appreciable proportion of a new drug's development costs.
For further reading on any of these topics, you can take a look at the released presentations from the exhibition that are now available on the ISPOR website.
I would love to hear what you thought of the conference or your feelings on any of the topics above, so please share your thoughts in the comments below and don't forget to check out ProClinical's latest health economics jobs.