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A jagged little pill – ISPOR turns 20, HTA looks to the future

09 November 2015 Gustav Ando

An outbreak of Ebola kills hundreds, a world famous athlete is freed from a murder charge, and Starbucks has a new Frappuccino. No, we are not talking about current events in 2015, but actually casting our minds back to 20 years ago, in 1995 – and in fact the Frappuccino that Starbucks was launching was its first.

1995 also saw a small group gathered in Philadelphia to consolidate what was previously a series of disparate initiatives and activities in the area of pharmacoeconomics under a single body. This body would eventually become known as ISPOR, and this year it is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

The plenary session held this morning amid a post-Expo hangover in Milan, was very much devoted to reflecting on the history of the organisation, what it has achieved to date, and what it expects to achieve in the future.

During these 20 years, ISPOR has grown from 300 to 18,000 people, illustrating the astonishing evolution in healthcare economics, pricing and reimbursement, and outcomes research during this period. And in Europe, the clear focus of this evolution is on how it can help to enhance decision-making for healthcare authorities across a disparate region through harmonising HTA methodologies, mainstreaming best practice and creating an efficient, self-sustainable mechanism of interaction between the various healthcare stakeholders.

Whilst there are a plethora of initiatives (many at the European Commission level) intended to harmonise healthcare decision-making, a critical development that perhaps best crystallizes these efforts is the creation of the HTA Core Model under the auspices of EUnetHTA. Finn Borlum Kristensen presented how far the organisation (still in its infancy) has gone in creating this model, as EUnetHTA increasingly moves away from the various pilot programmes that have dominated its work so far towards more real world, tangible outcomes.

Interestingly, according to Kristensen, the Core Model has also attracted interest from the pharmaceutical industry – or one company, to be precise – which is assessing how the tool could inform the way in which it interacts between the HQ and its various affiliates. The goal of the model is clearly to provide efficiency gains across the healthcare sector for assessment valuations, but it may also have important implications for the gathering of the underlying evidence for such assessments.

At the end, it is hoped that the Core Model will also help ensure that the concept of the underlying value of the healthcare technology is properly assessed in the context of healthcare decision-making. It may even serve as an important tool to displace current practices where value is completely removed from the equation, such as international reference pricing and price-volume agreements.

Certainly, it’s a long road ahead – or, perhaps a jagged little pill, as Alanis Morissette sang 20 years ago – but the plenary session highlighted a pretty clear road map over how this can be achieved within a 5-year horizon. And if the glove fits, it may just work…

Gustav Ando is the director of life sciences at IHS
Posted 9 November 2015

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