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PhRMA Foundation Publishes White Paper Outlining Progress in Value Assessment Research

By: Emily Ortman, PhRMA Foundation Head of Communications January 18, 2023

In this white paper, the PhRMA Foundation highlights how Foundation-funded researchers are working toward solutions that will advance the field of value assessment.

The health care decisions made by patients, clinicians, insurers, and other stakeholders each day should be grounded in rigorous scientific research. Value assessment is a field of research that seeks to evaluate the relative benefits and costs of health care interventions — such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices, or medical procedures — to ensure health care decisions are guided by the best possible evidence.

In the new white paper “Driving Progress in U.S. Value Assessment,” the PhRMA Foundation reviews the value assessment landscape in the United States, identifies key challenges that may hinder the robust application of value assessment within the U.S. health care system, and highlights how Foundation-funded researchers are working toward solutions that will advance the field of value assessment.

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The PhRMA Foundation is a nearly 60-year-old nonprofit that fosters biopharmaceutical innovation and value-driven health care by investing in the frontiers of research. Since 2017, the Foundation has supported investigator-driven research in value assessment through competitive grants.

“In the wake of recent health care policy changes, value assessment research has taken on even greater importance for all health care stakeholders,” PhRMA Foundation President Amy M. Miller, PhD, said. “This white paper evaluates where the field of value assessment stands now and how we need to move the field forward to better meet the needs of patients.”

Value assessment is gaining traction with health care decision-makers and policymakers in the U.S. For instance, the Inflation Reduction Act signed into law in August 2022 will allow Medicare to “negotiate” the price of select prescription drugs, and policymakers anticipate that value assessment could play a role in these negotiations.

“As health care stakeholders increasingly use value assessment tools to inform their decision-making, it is crucial that these tools rely on validated, comprehensive, and patient-centered methods,” the paper states.

The white paper examines the methodological strengths and limitations of value assessment tools from three organizations that actively conduct value assessments to guide stakeholder decision-making: the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), the Innovation and Value Initiative (IVI), and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN).

It also outlines the following gaps in the field that may lead to value assessments misaligned with patient needs:

  • Insufficient consideration of health equity
  • Shortcomings in existing value assessment methods
  • Reliance on a narrow definition of value

“Assessing the value of health care interventions within our complex health care system presents unique challenges, and current value assessment tools don’t consistently incorporate or prioritize what matters the most to patients,” said paper author Kimberly Westrich, Director of Value & Access Strategy at Xcenda, a part of global healthcare company AmerisourceBergen.

To address these gaps and cultivate new research in the field, the PhRMA Foundation is investing in the development of advanced value assessment methodologies that are rigorous and transparent and address the needs of all health care stakeholders — especially patients. The paper describes how Foundation-funded researchers are working to improve the inclusion of patient-focused value elements and considerations of health equity in value assessment.

However, fully addressing these challenges will require multistakeholder collaboration and additional sustainable funding streams. “Value assessment research needs dedicated funding from federal research agencies to grow the field further and provide new opportunities for advancement,” Miller said.

The PhRMA Foundation continues to provide funding for researchers at every stage of their careers to focus attention on value assessment research needs. The Foundation’s re-envisioned Value Assessment and Health Outcomes Research Program provides awards for predoctoral students, postdoctoral trainees, and early-career faculty. The Foundation will also launch a new Frontier Award designed to encourage additional empirical research on new value assessment methodologies.

“Driving Progress in U.S. Value Assessment” is authored by Emily Ortman, Head of Communications at the PhRMA Foundation, Kimberly Westrich, Director of Value & Access Strategy at Xcenda/AmerisourceBergen, and Lisabeth Buelt, Manager of Value & Access Strategy at Xcenda/AmerisourceBergen.