I’ve just returned from a visit to the UAE and Kuwait where I had the privilege of speaking with medicines regulators and pricing authority representatives from those two nations.
The topic of conversation was the value of innovation – and the urgency of rewarding it through timely approvals and appropriate pricing and reimbursement.
Our conversations ranged over many topics but focused specifically on a few key points:
* When patients have access to more effective medications, their overall health improves, even as their overall medical expenses go down. That, in turn, reduces national health-care spending and boosts the economy. Value must be measured in patient outcomes.
* Healthcare innovation saves lives, saves money, promotes economic growth, and provides hope for hundreds of millions of people (both patients and care-givers) in the United States and around the world.
* If we do not support the development of new medicines through timely licensing and fair pricing, innovation will be stopped in its tracks – and that is not an acceptable public health outcome.
* Regulators can be partners in innovation three ways: Through robust oversight, through active collaboration, and, most importantly, by being an innovation enabler.
We spent a lot of the conversation discussing the important differences between value and pricing – and that while both are important, it is value that’s the higher priority since driving patient outcomes is the higher calling (and better long-term economic investment).
After all, as Yale economist William Nordhaus has written, "The social productivity of health care spending might be many times that of other spending.”