Ethical hurdles in the prioritization of oncology care

de Groot, F. et al. (2017) Ethical hurdles in the prioritization of oncology care. Applied Health Economics and Health Policy, 15(2), pp. 119-126. (doi: 10.1007/s40258-016-0288-4) (PMID:27766548)

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With finite resources, healthcare payers must make difficult choices regarding spending and the ethical distribution of funds. Here, we describe some of the ethical issues surrounding inequity in healthcare in nine major European countries, using cancer care as an example. To identify relevant studies, we conducted a systematic literature search. The results of the literature review suggest that although prevention, access to early diagnosis, and radiotherapy are key factors associated with good outcomes in oncology, public and political attention often focusses on the availability of pharmacological treatments. In some countries this focus may divert funding towards cancer drugs, for example through specific cancer drugs funds, leading to reduced expenditure on other areas of cancer care, including prevention, and potentially on other diseases. In addition, as highly effective, expensive agents are developed, the use of value-based approaches may lead to unacceptable impacts on health budgets, leading to a potential need to re-evaluate current cost-effectiveness thresholds. We anticipate that the question of how to fund new therapies equitably will become even more challenging in the future, with the advent of expensive, innovative, breakthrough treatments in other therapeutic areas.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Research and editorial support was funded by Novartis Pharma, Basel under the AGORA initiative (a European Think Tank which aims to optimise access for patients to innovative treatments).
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Walker, Dr Andrew
Authors: de Groot, F., Capri, S., Castanier, J.-C., Cunningham, D., Flamion, B., Flume, M., Herholz, H., Levin, L.-Å., Solà-Morales, O., Rupprecht, C. J., Shalet, N., Walker, A., and Wong, O.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Robertson Centre
Journal Name:Applied Health Economics and Health Policy
ISSN (Online):1179-1896
Published Online:21 October 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Authors
First Published:First published in Applied Health Economics and Health Policy 15(2): 119-126
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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