ST. LOUIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Patients Rising, - a non-profit patient advocacy organization – led a briefing to detail the risks to patients from so-called “value-frameworks” that limit spending on new and innovative treatments for cancer and other serious diseases. The briefing was held in response to proposals from ICER, the Boston-based Institute for Clinical and Economic Research, and its mid-west affiliate CEPAC, initially focused on the blood cancer multiple myeloma. Patients Rising challenged the basic premises proposed by ICER and presented experts who detailed why ICER’s economic benchmarks will harm both patients and medical innovation.
“ICER’s limits on access to new therapeutics would result in 44,000 fewer lives saved for patients with multiple myeloma over a five year period,” said Robert Goldberg, Ph.D., of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest who co-hosted the briefing. “Further, ICER’s proposed price cuts would eliminate 60 percent of drug discovery, having a huge impact on the future of the fight against cancer.”
Another co-host of the briefing, Stacey L. Worthy, Esq., Director of Public Policy at the Alliance for the Adoption of Innovations in Medicine (Aimed Alliance), added, “ICER is proposing a system similar to the one used in the UK, where patients are less likely to survive certain types of cancer than those in less developed countries, such as Malaysia and Indonesia. U.S. patients with cancer can expect the same level of deterioration in care if we let ICER define what represents value in healthcare.”
ICER says its proposals are intended to address what its members see as the rising cost of healthcare. However, Patients Rising has long maintained that any discussion of healthcare spending should be based on fact, not rhetoric, and should look at healthcare as a whole not just target new therapeutics.
“Any proposal must put patients first,” said Jonathan Wilcox, Co-founder and policy director of Patients Rising. “The ICER plan will simply result in healthcare rationing. We will oppose any plan that replaces medical decisions with a mathematic formula.”
ICER plans future “value frameworks” that cover lung cancer and multiple sclerosis. The current ICER framework addresses multiple myeloma, a rare blood cancer of cells in the bone marrow. This is a cancer that cannot be cured, but where much progress has been made extending remissions with a growing arsenal of new, innovative treatments that can be used in combination and in sequence.
Myeloma patient Tom Hardy says, “As a six year survivor I outlived the five year prognosis I was given when I was diagnosed thanks to multiple treatments. But on my way to the briefing today I was told the cancer is coming back. I don’t want ICER or anyone else to curtail my treatment options.”
Nine year survivor John W. Killip, D.D.S. adds, “Where would I be if they based the value of my treatment on five-year survival. It is inappropriate that ICER or anyone challenge the value of my treatment to me, my family, or my continued ability to generate income!”
The Aimed Alliance concludes there are cost-saving alternatives that don’t harm the patients, but actually improve care. One insurance company reduced costs by 15 percent by offering additional care to its most expensive-to-treat patients such as arranging for caregiver calls, helping to organize medications, and assisting them in daily tasks such as obtaining groceries. Providing access to quality, patient-centered care and removing barriers to innovation is one way to save money without the need to threaten patients’ lives.