Everyone is interested in having access to the best healthcare available. However, many patients end up having to face the fact that many treatments are unfeasible, too expensive, or potentially counter-conducive. Knowledge of issues within the healthcare system is not unknown to those in charge. However, dealing with them often requires making structural changes many industry players are not willing or able to perform.
Value-based medicines promise to change the way the pharmaceutical industry works. By changing the focus of healthcare from profits to the well-being of patients, the healthcare world can start a virtuous cycle that benefits patients, doctors, and pharmaceutical manufacturers alike.
What are value-added medicines?
Value-added medicines are drug products created using already known molecules. The purpose of value-added medicines is to create innovative treatments for patients while offering convenient solutions to healthcare professionals.
The strategy behind value-added medicines is known as drug repositioning or drug repurposing. Drug reformulations are created by investigating already existing pharmaceutical products.
There are two main goals in value-based healthcare:
- To improve the quality of life of the patient
- To generate an improvement in length of life conferred by an intervention
The many advantages value-added medicines have over other treatments have led to the creation of organizations that aim towards their proliferation. For example, the Value Added Medicines Group, a sector group of Medicines for Europe, was created to rethink, reinvent and optimize medicines. This organization’s goal is to devise a sustainable healthcare market model with an emphasis on R&D.
The American Medical Association outlines the following as the main features of an ideal high-value healthcare system (source):
- A clear vision that is shared by all parties. Providing the best value to patients must be considered the main focus of the healthcare system.
- A labor force composed of proactive healthcare workers. Building leadership and professionalism should be a major priority.
- The development of a robust and reliable IT environment.
- Broad access to healthcare.
- The implementation of payment models that place quality improvement of care over volume.
The need for value-added medicines
Value-based healthcare aims to rethink, reinvent, and optimize drug products, creating innovative treatment options. The development of novel healthcare systems is necessary for the deployment and preservation of universal healthcare coverage.
By using value-added medicines, the pharmaceutical industry can address the needs of neglected patient populations. Limited healthcare budgets and ailments that are hard to address can be circumvented by implementing value-based healthcare. These medicines can be used as a complementary treatment to generic medicines, devising new ways of repurposing medicines and creating overall improvements in health care delivery.
What can value-added medicines bring to society?
Value-added medicines are created to improve the quality of healthcare. When using a value-based approach, the patient is always put first. Medical conditions can even be addressed before they start. Moreover, a focus on prevention and management leads to a lower need for expensive testing, medications, and procedures.
Thanks to an approach to healthcare focused on recovery, value-added medicines can economically benefit all parties involved in their use and development. The treatment of chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and cancer is both emotionally taxing and extremely expensive.
Value-based healthcare aims to alleviate these issues by helping patients with the management of chronic conditions. Through proper self-care and health education, the effects of many medical conditions can be mitigated or avoided altogether, leading to simpler and cheaper treatments.
Adoption of value-based healthcare practices leads to patients requiring fewer visits to the hospital, testing, invasive procedures, and expensive medication. In addition, fewer patients in critical condition take away a huge amount of stress off the shoulders of healthcare professionals.
Better care for patients
Removing the focus of healthcare away from generating quantity and placing it on providing value to patients is highly advantageous to the quality of medical care. Better care for patients translates directly into increased patient satisfaction. Therefore, value-added medicines can lead to improved consumer-brand relationships.
Research has shown that a focus on treatment and pharmaceuticals that add value creates an improvement in patient satisfaction. In fact, value-based healthcare methods have proven to be more satisfactory to patients, even when different value-based approaches were taken into consideration (source).
Improving patient satisfaction should be in the best interest of all pharmaceutical organizations. Healthcare administrators can use patient satisfaction as a key metric to perform health technology assessments, measure organizational performance, and gauge patient outcomes.
Empower healthcare professionals
A fundamental part of a value-based healthcare approach is the streamlining of the tasks performed by medical professionals. Developing novel methodologies can help nurses and other people in charge of delivering care to better handle the treatment of patients.
For example, the STEEEP system is used by the National Academy of Medicine as a roadmap for good value-based health practices. The acronym STEEEP stands for the bases of a high-value healthcare system:
- Safe: The intention of patient care should be to avoid any kind of harm.
- Timely: The delivery of healthcare should not be hampered by wait times or harmful delays.
- Effective: Healthcare services should be provided to all who need them based on clinical trials and scientific knowledge. In the same vein, a treatment that is unlikely to bring benefit to a patient should not be delivered.
- Efficient: Operational efficiency should be raised to the point where the maximum possible value is achieved. Procedures that help in this process are minimizing wasteful resource allocation and diminishing bloated administrative costs.
- Equitable: Healthcare systems should strive to be equal for all. A person should not have to deal with lesser medical care because of their gender, income, ethnicity, or location. All forms of discrimination should be proscribed in patient care.
- Patient-centered: The ideal healthcare system puts the patient’s preferences, needs, and values front and center. Healthcare providers should always be respectful of the people they’re taking care of.
Reduce medical errors
Medical errors are one of the top challenges faced by the pharmaceutical industry. Many conditions are treated using methods that are ineffective and even harmful to patients but are nonetheless still practiced.
As insurance sponsors, such as large employers, begin taking notice that a considerable portion of their funds is being wasted on sub-par treatments, they are making the shift towards acquiring value-based healthcare options. Insurance plans that place an incentive on value-based care are more cost-effective and prone to considerably fewer medical errors, making them the preferred choice of smart employers.
Incentivizing health education
Patients are attracted to improved health outcomes. If a drug product has an increased safety and tolerability rate, selective patients will be more inclined to purchase it. Likewise, value-based healthcare approaches might make use of electronic medical records (EMRs), empowering patients to stay informed and take a proactive attitude towards their medical conditions, all while saving money.
Encouraging healthy habits
People’s well-being is often decreased by unhealthy habits like cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and overeating. Through the encouragement of healthy practices, from quitting smoking to reducing respiratory diseases to focusing on weight loss to ward against diabetes, patient health can be improved. An overall healthier population leads to fewer doctor visits, and thereby reduced medical costs.
Rewarding employees for keeping their health in high regard can be extremely beneficial to the bottom line of employers. Successful health initiatives will end up with employers paying less in medical costs. Since insurance providers adjust their packages with large employers based on employee health (among other factors), having a healthier workforce can also mean having a better insurance package.
Innovative and functional drug products
The rising developing costs of new chemical entities (NCE) and new molecular entities (NME) together with bloated regulations make the creation of new treatments unnecessarily complicated. In addition, there is an expectation to keep the price of generic medicines low, which can lead to their quality being neglected. Value-added medicines address all these issues, while also providing better care for patients.
More than simple reformulations, Altus’ value-added medicines are tailor-made pharmaceutical products created to stand out in the market by better addressing the needs of patients. Moreover, Altus can create new formulations of well-established products adding unique features to allow for market differentiation, exclusivity, and premium prices.