This paper constitutes the first attempt to draw lessons from the recent uptake of health economic evaluation of innovative drugs in the French regulatory framework.
Taking the example of new direct-acting antivirals against hepatitis C virus, the paper asks whether and how the cost-effectiveness (CE) opinions issued by the French National Health Authority improve the information available to support the pricing decisions.
The analysis compares the assessment of these drugs based on three different sources: CE opinions, clinical opinions, and the published cost-utility analyses (CUA) available in the literature and identified through a systematic review.
The results show that CE opinions bring to the fore three issues prone to impact the incremental cost utility ratio and those were not available to the decision maker through clinical opinions or published CUA: the stage of treatment initiation, the modeling of the disease progression, and the uncertainty around the efficacy rates.
France has introduced the criterion of the cost per QALY gained in the pricing and regulation of innovative pharmaceuticals since 2013. Our analysis shows that the use of CUA does enhance the information available to the decision makers on the value of the treatments.