Very inspiring start of ASCERTAIN Project in Rotterdam

Research ESHPM

In December 2022 the HORIZON funded project ASCERTAIN (Affordability and Sustainability improvements through new pricing, Cost- Effectiveness and Reimbursement models to Appraise iNnovative health technologies) started. The members of the consortium had their first meeting on 24 and 25 January. Everybody is keen to start the project and the round table discussions were very inspiring. In this video you can see an impression of the first ASCERTAIN meeting.

So, what is the goal of this project? ASCERTAIN addresses the need of patients, physicians, payers, regulators, and manufacturers to improve the affordability and accessibility to innovative health technologies (including pharmaceuticals) in Europe.

ASCERTAIN Project Coordinator, Prof. Carin Uyl-de Groot from the Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM), states: “Our mission is to make high-cost drugs and technologies more and faster accessible in Europe. The project gives us the opportunity to work on it.” The project aims to improve the quality of care for cancer patients especially in Eastern Europe.

The kickoff of ASCERTAIN took place in Rotterdam. On day 1 at ESHPM everyone got to know each other, and the work packages were discussed. On day 2 at the Intell Hotel in Rotterdam, six round table discussions were held. A report has been made of the round table discussions. You can read it here. In summary, the following was discussed:

  1. Efficient access to cancer care: Improving access to cancer care is an overarching goal of all the roundtables. The discussions centered around the need for a fair process for pricing and reimbursement decisions, the importance of timely and accurate cancer diagnosis and treatment, and the need for better patient pathways.
  2. Pricing and Reimbursement: The participants acknowledged the connection between pricing and reimbursement and emphasized the need for a fair process that ensures equitable access to health technologies in the EU while supporting innovation and competitiveness. A fair process was seen as one that considers the unmet needs of patients and the sustainability of the healthcare system while ensuring equal access to information and accountability.
  3. Access to innovative treatments: Accessibility to innovative treatments could be improved through collaboration between member states and pharmaceutical companies, the use of outcome-based measures, and the implementation of performance measures. Contractual agreements on reimbursement models should be transparent, outcome-based, and include a risk-sharing component.
  4. Diagnosis: Timely and accurate cancer diagnosis was seen as essential for patient outcomes and the overall success of the cancer care pathway. The importance of access to specialized diagnostic techniques and services was highlighted, as was the need for collaboration between diagnostic and treatment providers.
  5. Patient pathway: A better patient pathway was seen as necessary for improved patient outcomes and access to care. This included the need for more patient-centered approaches, better coordination between different stages of the pathway, and the use of technology to improve the overall experience for patients.
  6. Support for cancer research: The importance of cancer research for improving patient outcomes and access to care was emphasized. This included the need for increased investment in cancer research, the importance of collaboration between researchers and healthcare providers, and the need for better sharing of data and results.

Carin Uyl-de Groot is looking forward to the work within the ASCERTAIN project and is delighted to witness the high motivation and enthusiasm of the project which will help e.g., cancer patients to get a better access to newest pharmaceuticals and innovative technologies throughout Europe and beyond: “If we can accelerate certain parts in the process, the project outcomes can make a life-changing difference to cancer patients. For instance, we will develop some open-access tools for decision makers in European countries to be applied on pricing and reimbursement.”


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