As patients, providers, payers, and policymakers continue to seek ways to assess the value of cancer therapies by balancing clinical benefits and treatment costs, a number of tools have been released to define the value of medicines. These include the European Society for Medical Oncology’s Magnitude of Clinical Benefit Scale, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s DrugAbacus, the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review’s Value Assessment Framework, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Value Framework. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network is also expected to release a value tool shortly.
Value starts with the patient. At AstraZeneca, understanding the patient’s journey is fundamental to all we do. Each patient is unique, as is the approach to his or her treatment. Patients weigh treatment options differently, based on their clinical circumstance and also on the value they place on clinically meaningful end points, quality of life, and other personal and culturally driven preferences.
At AstraZeneca, we believe that treatment-related value tools should take the following points into consideration:
- Patient needs and preferences should be the central focus of any tool to assess value
- Value tools should be comprehensive, up to date, and scientifically validated. Value determinations of treatments should incorporate all meaningful clinical data on efficacy and safety, as well as quality of life and other relevant metrics; allow for the inclusion of new data; and be thoroughly validated to ensure that the treatments are achieving their intended goal of improving patient outcomes and experiences
- Innovative approaches to obtaining meaningful clinical data on treatment efficacy and safety should be included in value-based scores
- Tools that attempt to include the cost of a medicine as part of the overall value of a therapy must be comprehensive and up to date. It is important to consider the benefits and costs of cancer therapies across a continuum, including risk reduction, screening and early detection, treatment, and end-of-life care
- Value tools should not be used as a mechanism to restrict a broad patient access to cancer therapies.
Each of these points is grounded in the need to put patients first, including their goals for their personal treatment journey.
It is equally important that providers have the option to recommend a treatment path to deliver the best outcome for patients, without penalty, and that providers are suitably informed on how to appropriately incorporate these value tools into their decision-making. Without suitable consideration of certain tools’ limitations and guidance for how to properly use these tools in the decision-making process, value scores could limit patient access to treatment.
AstraZeneca is committed to working collaboratively with the oncology community to develop value tools based on our common goal of improving patient health. We believe that bringing innovative medicines to oncology care, and supporting the decision-making process, are at the core of achieving patient-centered treatment goals.