How is the value of new drugs to be evaluated? Today, new medical drugs are mainly evaluated on basis of clinical tests. In practice, the value is determined by how the drugs are actually used. What values are created for the individual patient, medical care and society as a whole when drugs are used and how do we find this out?
In the current SNS research programme The Value of New Drugs, the treatment of five different medical conditions has been studied in order to provide new knowledge about these questions. The report deals with the therapeutic areas of breast cancer, leukaemia, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and high blood lipids.
Johanna Lind has been the SNS Director of Research in charge of the studies:
– Sweden has fantastic register databases that could be used in order to in a better way obtain knowledge of the actual value of new drugs after they have been introduced in routine medical care. An overall conclusion from the five studies is that insufficient follow-up and distribution of knowledge can lead to large welfare losses when new drugs are not being used in the best way.
The costs for drugs in Sweden are expected to rise in the future due to an ageing population and the introduction of new, more expensive drugs. When used in a correct way, these new drugs lead to better health and contribute to welfare. At the same time, the resources of society are limited and it is necessary to prioritise. There are often drug-related gains and costs in different sectors of society and at different points in time. The interpretation of the value of a drug can therefore be very different from different perspectives: that of the patient, the relatives, medical care and care, the economy etc.
In this research programme, SNS wants to study and illustrate the value of new drugs from a broad and long-run perspective for society. The objective is to supply factual knowledge that can be of assistance in decisions that concern access to new drugs and an efficient use of drugs in Sweden.
A reference group with company representatives, county councils and government authorities is connected to the research programme. The studies are carried out by leading researchers who independently are responsible for the analysis and the conclusions.