Carlo Marra, PharmD, PhD, President of ISPOR New Zealand Chapter and Professor and Dean of the School of Pharmacy, University of Otago, New Zealand
ISPOR NZ is the only scientific organisation in New Zealand that brings together health care scientists, professionals and providers, academics, procurement and budget holders, suppliers, publishers, policy makers and others interested in the economics of healthcare interventions. Our aim is to provide an environment that enables collaborative sharing of knowledge and to act as a resource for those interested in health technology economics and outcomes research. We achieve this, in part, by providing an excellent webinar series with some very innovative and thought-provoking presentations by amazing researchers and policy makers distributed throughout the world.
Our webinar series for 2022 has been very exciting with an array of different topics that are relevant to health economics and outcomes research professionals. The first webinar for this year was given by Professor Paula Lorgelly, who was recently appointed Chair of Health Economics at the University of Auckland, who presented on new developments in health economic evaluation and their relevance to Aotearoa New Zealand. Paula left New Zealand in 1999 with a submitted PhD in development economics and a teaching knowledge of health economics (thanks to the slides of Paul Hansen and Nancy Devlin). She returned in 2022 as a health economist with considerable experience in undertaking economic evaluations and the application of new methods. In this talk she presented some methodological challenges that she’d like to work on in Aotearoa. This includes understanding how to measure productivity loss, how equity features in HTA guidelines and what is the societal perspective and how could it include carbon to tackle the climate crisis. Paula would welcome feedback on these ideas and approaches to collaborate.
Our second webinar was at our Annual General Meeting (AMG) in April. We were very pleased to announce that the keynote presentation at the AGM was delivered by Chris Carswell (Editor-in-Chief of PharmacoEconomics), Prof. Michael Drummond (Professor of Health Economics at the University of York), and Prof. Don Husereau (Adjunct Professor of Medicine at the University of Ottawa), who presented on the updated CHEERS 2022 Guideline for reporting health economic evaluations. This excellent presentation was well presented to one of our largest webinar audiences.
The next webinar was presented by Professor Michael Law who holds the Canada Research Chair in Access to Medicines and is a Professor in the Centre for Health Services and Policy Research, School of Population and Public Health, at the University of British Columbia. His research program focuses on pharmaceutical policy and the access to and use of prescription drugs, including the affordability of prescription drugs, private drug insurance, generic drug pricing, and the impact of pharmacist prescribing. In this talk, Prof. Law discussed the use of biosimilars to improve competition and reduce drug costs. Biosimilars - agents with similar efficacy and safety to originator biologic drugs - offer an important avenue for cost savings to address the growing expenditure on biologics, yet their uptake remains low. Prof Law discussed the impact of policies to strengthen the biosimilars market and to increase their uptake, drawing on an analysis of the Canadian experience.
The fourth webinar was presented by Dr. Daniel Goldstein who is a medical oncologist at Rabin Medical Center, a senior lecturer in Medical Oncology at Tel Aviv University, and medical director of drug and technology policies in the community division of Clalit Health Services. This webinar drew on Dr. Goldstein's considerable experience consulting on policy advancements in health care systems to offer insights and updates on modern developments in precision medicine for oncology. Particularly, experience personalising previously standardised national treatment programmes to provide greater cost-effectiveness of care without hurting patient outcomes were outlined and discussed. Dr. Goldstein discussed pharmacologic opportunities to reduce cancer drug expenditure without harming patient outcomes; the use of weight-based immunotherapy, used in multiple cancers, which can save 25% of resources; and the existence of class effects, which can also lead to significant cost savings. The webinar was introduced and mediated by Dr. Jonathan Briody, health economist in the Division of Population Health Sciences, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.
Our fifth addition in the ISPOR NZ 2022 webinar series was presented by Dr. Stephanie Harvard in August. Dr. Harvard is a Michael Smith Health Research Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the UBC Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Her work focuses on understanding and communicating the role of social and ethical values in health economics modelling and exploring new ways of informing models with patient and public values. In this webinar, Dr. Harvard described some of her recent qualitative and philosophical work characterising value judgements in health economic modelling. Focusing on the concept of 'representational risk', she discussed the need for public involvement in managing value judgements in modelling, highlighting some of the challenges and opportunities that this involvement presents.
Our final webinar for 2022 will be at the end of October and will be delivered by Emilia Price, a 4th year Bachelor of Pharmacy Honours student at the University of Otago, with a particular interest in researching and evaluating the effectiveness of pharmacy services to improve access to healthcare and health outcomes for communities throughout New Zealand. In this webinar, Emilia will discuss findings from her Honours research project, a systematic review of economic evaluations of pharmacy services and interpretation of their cost-effectiveness in the New Zealand context.