Lecture series on pharmacoeconomics
A series of seminars were held on pharmacoeconomics and leadership. The series was intended to be an update in an important field with multidisciplinary approach, for PhD students within the Norwegian PhD School of Pharmacy, and for anyone else who might be interested in the field. It was intended to have an international focus and create a basis for network building within the field of pharmacoeconomics.
Photo: Touro University
The Seminars & Lecture
The first seminar was held February 1st in Oslo. The program’s title was «Pharmacoeconomics as a tool for rational reimbursement decision making». Runa Hauksdottir Hvannberg director of the Icelandic Medicines Agency and previously chairman of the Icelandic Pricing and Reimbursement committee described the Icelandic authorities’ pharmacoeconomic focus after the Icelandic bank collapse in a presentation with the title «Pharmaceutical cost-containment in economic crisis», followed by Kristin Helene Svanqvist of the Norwegian Medicines agency, describing recent development in the pharmacoeconomics focus in Norway, in a presentation with the title «Health technology assessment and financing – what is the connection». Hvannberg’s presentation illustrated the large challenges Iceland faced when the bank system collapsed practically overnight, and how those challenges also touched the field of pharmaceuticals considerably. She described how Iceland had, faced with the crisis, to go after «the low hanging fruits», after having just a year earlier decided to increase focus on health economics in decision making. After the bank collapse, the focus was on the ATC groups where the costs were highest. Due to the crisis, both physicians and pharmacists were very cooperative, something they might not have been under normal circumstances, - as summed up by Hvannberg: «you should never let a good crisis go to waste». Hvannberg’s conclusion was that costs had been successfully cut, without reducing purchased amount of pharmaceuticals.
Svanqvist discussed Health Technology Assessment in a very pedagogical presentation, where the audience was walked through the principles, followed by information on cooperation that is in development between the European countries on health technology assessment. She focused on internal and external validity, and on comparators and modelling.
The seminar and discussions in connection with it create a basis for further cooperation with the Medicines Agencies in the field of pharmacoeconomics.
Combatting waste of pharmaceuticals is a topic that interests many in increasingly ecology- and economy conscious societies. The second seminar was held on March 15th in Tromsø and March 16th in Oslo. Its title was «Possible savings on the pharmaceuticals budget by focusing on reduction of waste. The Dutch approach». Dr. Helga Garðarsdóttir, assistant professor of Drug Regulatory Sciences at Utrecht University in the Netherlands gave a presentation and discussed with the audience the Dutch approach to combatting waste of pharmaceuticals, including her own research on the potential role of the pharmacist in reduction of waste.
After the seminar in Tromsø, Dr. Garðarsdóttir and Dr. Ingunn Björnsdóttir had a meeting with Dr. Trine Bergmo, researcher at E-health research, discussing possibilities with respect to future collaboration, and Dr. Bergmo will be a partner of PharmaSafe in two upcoming PhD projects. Furthermore, Garðarsdóttir and Björnsdóttir discussed possible collaboration in writing of papers on quality of pharmacoepidemiological data, based on Icelandic examples.
Professor Shane Desselle visited Norway in June, giving lectures both in Oslo and Tromsø, under the heading «U.S. Drug Use, Economics, and Pricing».
The lecture in Tromsø was on June 1st and in Oslo on June 6th. Shane Desselle, who is professor at Touro University, president of Applied Pharmacy Solutions and editor of Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy, walked us through FDA’s requirements for clinical trials, described ‘Phase IV’ surveillance including FDA’s MedWatch program and contextualized post-marketing and describe U.S. databases for pharmacoepidemiologic and pharmacoeconomic research. He discussed drug formularies and the U.S., with a focus on pharmacy benefits managers and inter-relationships between various stakeholders in the drug use process, review different types of pharmacoeconomic research, particularly cost-effectiveness and costutility analysis and discuss a drug’s typical product life cycle and the resulting pricing and marketing strategies used by manufacturers. In Tromsø he had discussions with researchers from the IPSUM research group at the Department of Pharmacy, University of Tromsø and with Professor Anne Gerd Granås from UiO. In Oslo, he also came to a meeting with the PharmaSafe research group, discussing among other things, writing of papers and publication strategies.
Professor Desselle‘s meeting PharmaSafe has already lead to planning of visits (professor Granås) and ideas for writing of papers, and to a member of PharmaSafe (associate professor Björnsdóttir) taking on the task of being one of three guest editors of a themed issue on misuse of prescribed pharmaceuticals in Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy. Professor Desselle has invited to further collaborations with both UiO and UiT.
We are very grateful for the funding we have received, which was crucial for inviting the lecturers and hence creating a basis for future collaboration with all three, as well as contributing to collaborations within Norway.