Michael Drummond PhD
,
Professor of Health Economics, University of York, York, UK
2006-2007 ISPOR President


As I come to the end of my year as President of ISPOR, I have begun to reflect on what we have managed to achieve and what further needs to be done. At the beginning of the year I did not have too many ambitions, recognizing that 12 months is not a very long time. However, I did not anticipate the level of determination of the Board to get things done and the boundless energy of ISPOR’s staff.

The main objective this year has been to implement the findings of the Vision 2010 Implementation Task Force chaired by Lieven Annemans PhD, MSc and Isao Kamae MD, DrPH, building on the work of the Vision 2010 Task Force, led by Marc Berger MD and Gerry Oster PhD. Vision 2010 had 5 main themes: fostering research excellence; promoting education; reaching out to decision-makers; furthering international growth and fostering outcomes research for the medical devices and biotechnology industries.

Considerable progress has been made on all fronts. With respect to the aim of fostering research excellence, many good research practices task forces have either reported this year, or are due to report shortly. A particularly pleasing development is the approval, by the Board, of several new task forces on the topic of patient reported outcomes. In addition, the Society’s journal, Value in Health, and the Society’s other publications, continue to go from strength to strength. In particular, ISPOR CONNECTIONS has just been revamped, taking it beyond a simple newsletter, to a periodical with substantial scientific and editorial content.

In the field of education, the Society already has a wide range of initiatives. Of particular note is the increase in the range of short courses being offered in conjunction with the Society’s meetings and the attendance at these courses. Also, the Society’s student chapters continue to thrive and this year the Board approved modest levels of funding to recognize excellence among the student chapters. I expect that additional funding will be made available to further the ambitions of the ISPOR student body members.Of course, the situation is not as bad as I have painted. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is taking a serious interest in costeffectiveness, the FDA now has an official view on the role of patient reported outcomes (PROs) and several health plans (large and small) are asking for cost-effectiveness data, in line with the AMCP format, to inform their decision-making.

The relative lack of decision-maker involvement in the Society’s activities is a major focus of the Board’s attention. Starting with this year’s International Meeting, several sessions will be devoted to the interests of decision-makers, including case study presentations presented by decision makers, a health policy forum and issue panels on topics of interest to decision-makers in general and the medical devices and biotechnology industries in particular.

  Finally, the need for international growth is a major focus for the Society. During 2007, two new chapters in Latin America were approved by the Board, and the Latin American consortium established. As a consequence, the first ISPOR Latin American Conference will be held in September this year in Cartagena, Colombia. The Society also approved its first chapter on the continent of Africa, in South Africa. The internationalization of ISPOR was finally confirmed, when the Board agreed (at its May 2007 meeting) to two additional Board member positions, which should enable the Nominating Committee to select candidates reflecting the increasingly diverse membership of the Society.

During 2007, the Board also agreed to provide practical help to the emerging regions, by establishing a series of International Fellowships (open to individuals from outside Europe and North America) and grants to ISPOR chapters wishing to hold training courses or workshops in pharmacoeconomics and outcomes research. Initial signs are that this will prove a very popular option with the local chapters. In connection with this initiative, the Society has established a Speakers’ Bureau, whereby ISPOR members with particular expertise can register their interest to speak on particular topics.

Of course, much more needs to be done, particularly in the area of reaching out to decision-makers. I have never been quite sure whether the quality of our analyses fall short of decision-makers’ needs, or whatever decision making practices fall short of what the community has a right to expect. I guess our starting position should be that the consumer, in this case the decision-maker, is always right! I think I will leave this one to a future President of ISPOR.

Nevertheless, much has been accomplished during this year. A year is truly a long time in ISPOR! Good luck, Diana (Brixner).


Messages from the ISPOR Presidents