106 drugs added to 2017 health basket

Public committee chairman: There is no important life-saving or enhancing drug not included.

January 3, 2017 22:05
2 minute read.

Pills. (photo credit: INGIMAGE / ASAP)

The health basket committee has recommended 106 different medical technologies that will benefit 75,000 people who could not afford to pay for them on their own.

The health funds will provide the drugs to the relevant patients beginning January 10, after the list is approved by the Health Council and the government.

The committee members were pleased to learn that the Treasury not only allocated a total of NIS 469.8 million to expand the 2017 basket of health services, but would also expand the 2018 and the 2019 health baskets for the same amount.

The health basket budget had been NIS 300m. per annum for the previous six years.

After receiving the list, Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman thanked all members of the voluntary committee for their devoted work. He said that the additions to the basket were “social and egalitarian and included good news in many fields.

It was not easy or simple because your choices involved heavy responsibility,” adding that he intended to expand basic dental care from age 15 to 18.

The minister also said that despite talk this year that he had abandoned basic geriatric nursing care, he would make sure that it would be provided by raising health taxes by half of a percent. A small committee has been set up to promote the reform.

MK Itzik Shmuli, a member of the Knesset Labor, Welfare and Health Committee, said that while he was happy the basket was expanded by more than before, “many important drugs still remain outside and determine the fate of many patients. They shouldn’t say that there is no more money for social purposes, as only a week ago the government cut NIS 2 billion from a variety of ministries to provide corrupt coalition money.

This extra amount could have brought salvation to many patients instead of paying for the evacuation of Amona, residents of Hebron and upgrading ‘holy’ graves.”

Shmuel Ben-Yaacov, of the Society for Patients Rights, said that despite the larger allocation, the nearly NIS 470m. still comprised only 1.1% of the basket spent on medical technologies by the four public health funds, even though health experts have recommended an automatic 2% hike every year. Only 106 technologies were chosen out of more than 700 proposed for inclusion, he said.

Jonathan Halevy, director-general of Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center and head of the health basket committee, told The Jerusalem Post that “it was easier this time to make decisions because of the larger Treasury allocation. There is not an important new drug that is life-saving or life-enhancing that is not on the list. It includes drugs that have waited three years to get included, as well as new medications whose marketing began just a few months ago.

We also chose drugs for rare ‘orphan diseases’ whose victims have not had a voice before.”

The complete list of drugs and other technologies will soon be published on the Health Ministry’s website (www.health.gov.il).

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