The Medicare prescription drug program offers coverage for prescription drugs through competing private plans, within a framework established by law and through rules established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In contrast, other countries, including Australia, the UK, and Canada, provide similar prescription drug programs, but within different regulatory structures.
How do key countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) decide which drugs will be approved and included in their prescription drug programs for the elderly and disabled? How do those reviews balance the interests of program beneficiaries, as well as health plans, providers, and pharmaceutical firms? Do they succeed? What other lessons can be learned by exploring these differing approaches?
To discuss these and related questions, The Commonwealth Fund and the Alliance for Health Reform sponsored a June 23, 2006 briefing. The event included three international speakers: Steven Morgan of the Dept. of Health Care and Epidemiology at the University of British Columbia; Libby Roughead, of the School of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences at the University of South Australia; and Panos Kanavos of the London School of Economics. Tanisha Carino, director of Avalere Health’s Center on Evidence-Based Medicine, also presented remarks. Cybele Bjorklund of the House Ways & Means Committee and Mark Hayes of the Senate Finance Committee commented on the panelists’ presentations.
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