Every sixth new drug brings significantly more benefits

Every sixth new drug brings significantly more benefits

An initial assessment, which was made available to the german press agency dpa in berlin, shows that 16 percent of the tested preparations provide patients with considerably more benefit than previous therapies. In almost two-thirds of the cases, an overall added benefit was recognized. The balance sheet comes from the highest body responsible for evaluation in the healthcare sector, the joint federal committee (G-BA).

"In almost two-thirds of the cases, the G-BA recognized an additional benefit overall," said chairman josef hecken. In the committee, representatives of physicians, health insurers and hospitals decide on a scientific basis about the benefits of new therapies, among other things.

So far, the G-BA has evaluated 25 new drugs for serious diseases such as heart disease and cancer. The drugs were usually brought to market by pharmaceutical companies after years of development with immense sales hopes.

"The figures also refute the argument that the examinations are a one-sided cost-cutting policy to the detriment of patients and that innovations have been destroyed," hecken told dpa. According to international experience, about 15 to 20 percent of new drugs are genuinely innovative each year.

But the top mark of a significant additional benefit had not been awarded so far. According to the report, four new drugs will bring in more money, and nine less. No additional benefit has been found only in isolated cases.

From the point of view of pharmaceutical critics, it often turned out that the new drugs did not work much better than the old ones – only that they were much more expensive. The black-yellow pharmaceutical reform AMNOG, which came into force at the beginning of 2011, stipulates that the G-BA assessment is the basis for price negotiations between the manufacturer and the health insurance association. Only what is more effective should also cost more. Previously, the companies had been free to set their own prices.

"It was said in advance that a lot of things were broken by the early benefit assessment in germany," hecken said. As recently as june, the pharmaceutical association vfa had warned that innovations in germany were becoming virtually unavailable. These fears are now reduced to absurdity. The 53-year-old has led the committee since july, having previously served as secretary of state for the family, head of the federal insurance office and state minister.

According to hecken, a number of new funds were not submitted for review by the companies because they expected problems. "In other cases, drugs are restricted to patients who really benefit from them."Manufacturers, on the other hand, were aiming for widespread use. "The patients are helped in different ways," the committee head said. "Exaggerated hopes in a preparation are prevented, the risk of too gross side effects is minimized."

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