Talking risk: how to communicate health outcomes to non-health economists

By Julie Stauffer ([email protected]) You’ve scrutinized the data, crunched the numbers and arrived at a solid risk assessment. But how do you communicate that information so that great-aunt Betty can decide whether to take your drug for her heart condition? While other health economists understand you when you talk about the probabilities, costs and benefits…

How sick are you? It depends on what the definition of ‘sick’ is…

By Mary Gabb ([email protected] ) The publication several years ago of Selling Sickness: How the World’s Biggest Pharmaceutical Companies are Turning Us All into Patients by Ray Moynihan and Alan Cassels has brought the concept of disease-mongering into a global debate, and has introduced (or reintroduced) terms such as “medicalisation” and “lifestyle drugs” into today’s…

The mean versus the gene: will national healthcare systems ever adopt personalised medicine?

By John F P Bridges While outcomes for any given treatment differ significantly among patients, national healthcare systems continue to take a top down population perspective in reviewing not only epidemiologic data but to evaluating the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of new medicines. This top down approach, coupled with a growing need for cost containment, has…

www.PatientsLikeMe.com – The power of patient-provided information

By Julie Stauffer ([email protected]) Pharmaceutical companies depend on data – and lots of it – to develop drugs and measure their effectiveness. And many patients are eager to supply that information if it might mean better treatments or better quality of life. That’s the premise of PatientsLikeMe.com. Launched in 2006, it connects patients to other…

Making adherence work for your dollar (or pound, or euro…)

By Mary Gabb ([email protected]) As we reported in last month’s HOC, the past few years have witnessed a surge of interest in the role of adherence in health economics research, highlighted by a recent report from the National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE) in the United States, which revealed the high rates of…

In-store health clinics: a new approach to primary care?

By David Woods ([email protected]) Health clinics based in retail outlets, particularly drug stores, are changing the way primary care is delivered. Their proponents cite access, convenience, and price transparency as the major reasons for their popularity and growth. Further fueling this concept is the growing shortage of primary care doctors. Staffed mainly by nurse practitioners,…

The “other drug costs” – Part 1: non-adherence

By Mary Gabb ([email protected]) The term “adherence” (or sometimes “compliance”) – the extent to which patients take their treatment as prescribed – has been understood to be a nagging clinical issue, but is now seen as a major cost driver in many therapeutic areas. A recent report from the National Council on Patient Information and…

Simplifying drug labels

By David Woods ([email protected]) The Institute of Medicine, which made headlines some years ago when it estimated that medical mistakes kill as many as 98,000 patients a year, followed up more recently with a report on the major cause – medication errors. The Institute believes that one way to prevent such errors is through computerised…

Risk/benefit decisions – who should be involved, and are there valid measurement methods?

By Clare Gurton ([email protected]) Here we summarise a recent article from ISPOR Connections 2006; December 15: 3–5 Patients are generally not included in decision-making yet they are the group to whom the benefits and risk of treatment apply. Treatment decision-making policy and treatment guidelines are led by objective evidence of benefit, that outweighs any risks,…