Opinion roundup: June 2017
Editorials, commentaries and blogs relating to cancer care and policy.
Using real-world data for health technology assessment
An editorial for the European Journal of Cancer summarises the potential of real-world data (RWD) for health technology assessment, and potential hurdles in the collection of such data. The article applauds the ambition to use RWD to ratify licensing and reimbursement decisions, and suggests that this may lead to reimbursement authorities making earlier decisions, which could ultimately benefit patient outcomes. However, this will only be possible with national-level investment in IT to facilitate routine RWD collection.
Allocating resources for cancer
The topic of RWD is also discussed in an editorial for the Journal of Cancer Policy. This article compares the concepts of cost-effectiveness and value in the allocation of healthcare resources. It argues that a valuation metric that relies on clinical trial data for evidence of value, and does not include social and economic values, may not be useful for decisions about resource allocation. The article also considers the idea of whether society is willing to pay more for cancer prevention and treatment than for other conditions – but concludes that the evidence is unclear in this regard.
Melanoma: recent advances offer continued promise
The latest issue of Cancer has a special focus on melanoma, and its editorial speaks of the remarkable progress made for patients with melanoma in recent years. In melanoma, the author suggests, larger numbers of patients are able to participate in clinical trials, due to ‘the advent of highly active immunotherapies and molecularly targeted therapies with mechanisms of action and toxicities distinct from those of traditional cytotoxics’. In addition, expanded access programmes have provided real-world data on large numbers of patients. As a result, we can now have confidence that patient benefits observed in melanoma randomised controlled trials may be replicated, regardless of whether patients are treated in academic medical centres or community settings.