How to ensure patients' continuous access to effective novel medical technologies

(Ministerial luncheon – WHO conference, Tel Aviv).

(תמונה: חתימת הסכם בריאות עם קפריסין – שר הבריאות הקפריסאי מיכאליס חג׳יפנטלאס – ת״א)

The modern world – and specifically the ever-evolving, ever-improving health sector – has presented us with some wonderful opportunities:

Increasing life expectancy and longevity, and facilitating the survival and quality of life of patients who are diagnosed with conditions which were once considered fatal.

However, this progress comes at a cost.

Disease diagnosis and treatment have become much more specific and fragmented.

Diseases have become chronic and require longer duration of care.

Precision medicine, the next frontier of medical innovation, calls for patient-specific disease diagnosis and treatment, leading to more complex and more expensive health technology development efforts.

This has increased the financial burden on countries, such as Israel, which aspire to have equitable and social health care systems.

National reimbursement decisions in Israel are made via the health basket mechanism.

This mechanism includes a public committee that deliberates and decides each year which drugs, medical devices and procedures will be nationally funded for the benefit of each resident in Israel.

Hundreds of technologies are submitted to the committee each year.

However, due to the limited budget, only a fraction are added to the national list of health services at the end of the yearly deliberations.

We need to ensure patients' continuous access to effective novel medical technologies, while also securing the innovation and sustainability of our healthcare ecosystem.

We must take part in initiatives such as the OMI and the joint stakeholder platform, as suggested by the WHO Regional Committee for Europe.

The OMI calls for an open and comprehensive dialogue between all stakeholders of the ecosystem: patients, health systems, governments and industry. In a committed effort to balance the need for affordable, safe and effective medicines with the need to promote a thriving and innovative pharmaceutical industry.

Such international efforts are key in order to increase knowledge sharing between governments, health agencies, and other sectors, harmonize guidelines, and streamline regulation.

They are also crucial in initiating joint research and development funding opportunities, sharing pricing methodologies, and exchanging tools and best practices to ease market access efforts.

This will also help enhance patient engagement in the development process of medical technologies.

Israel has vast experience through the national health basket in different innovative models of reimbursement, such as risk sharing and patient involvement.

We are always eager to share this knowledge and incorporate other international best practices, in order to increase the efficiency of our national health funding systems.

Our vision of the health tech ecosystem includes a strong integration between innovation and R&D funding mechanisms, regulation, and reimbursement.
This can lead to more sustainable decision making and higher accessibility of the most efficient technologies for the benefit of the Israeli and the global population.