Medicine pills drugs prescription 311.
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
The basket of medical technologies will be expanded by 77 new medications and
medical devices in 2012 at a cost to the Treasury of NIS 300 million, out of 600
technologies proposed for inclusion that would have cost NIS 2
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The basket is comprised of medications and other technologies
that are provided by the health funds to relevant patients in exchange for only
Prof. Rafael Beyar, the director- general of Haifa’s
Rambam Medical Center who heads the public committee that recommends new medical
technologies, told The Jerusalem Post in an interview on Thursday that he was
very pleased with the new addition of life-saving, life-extending and
lifeimproving technologies to the basket as they would make a difference to tens
of thousands of patients.
Patients whose medications were not included in
the basket will have to pay for them out of pocket or do without
Although the list has to be approved by the National Health Council
and then by the government, these are only formal steps, though they could add
weeks to the process.
But Beyar said that he urges the four public health
funds to voluntarily provide the new technologies to relevant patients already
from Sunday, as the committee recommendations are always approved without
Beyar, a leading interventional cardiologist, said he preferred
that instead of expanding by only NIS 300 million, the basket be updated
automatically so the Health Ministry would not have to plead with the Treasury
for more funds. Beyar added that this was his third term as chairman of the
committee and that he would not continue next year, as it is a very
time-consuming and demanding voluntary post.
“It was very difficult this
time, as some excellent technologies – some of them breakthroughs in treatment –
were presented, but we could not approve most of them,” he said.
those approved were medications treating melanoma (the most serious type of skin
cancer), hepatitis B and C, dangerous blood clotting, multiple sclerosis, type 1
and type 2 diabetes for some indications, AIDS/HIV and stroke. Some new drugs
are meant for treating orphan diseases, illnesses that affect only a very small
number of patients. The expansion of indications for Pradaxa, an advanced drug
that can prevent strokes, was regarded as an important addition.
computerized device that continually monitors blood sugar for children and
pregnant women with type 1 diabetes was one of the new pieces of medical
equipment added to the list.
Beyar said he was very pleased with the
members of the committee, which includes representatives of the insurers,
Treasury, Health Ministry and the public, as well as physicians and a
This year, the decisionmaking process was low-key, with little
publicity and no significant demonstrations.
Deputy Health Minister
Ya’acov Litzman said that the announcement of the list was “good news for the
health system and patients.”
He praised Beyar and other members for their
hard work and for their reaching decisions without passing the deadline at the
end of December. Litzman added that the ministry will try to find special
funding for adding some vaccines for the population.
patients’ organizations said they were “happy for those who will have
medications they need but sorry for the tens of thousands of people needing
drugs that were highly rated by the committee but were not included in the 2012
They will either live in suffering [without them] or pay for
medications out of pocket.”
The organizations said that at least this
year, all of the NIS 300 million went for medical technologies and not services
that the government should pay for. But some complained that some drugs were
added to the basket without extra costs because they replaced outdated drugs,
thus they should have been added during the year and not forced patients to wait
Physicians for Human Rights – Israel commented that the gap
between patients’ needs and the amount allocated by the Treasury to expand the
basket is growing. Whether a patient gets an important drug should not depend on
his financial ability, the organization insisted.
The Israel AIDS Task
Force said it was happy that three relevant drugs were added, as they will ease
and extend the life of HIV carriers and AIDS patients, saving money for the
health system by preventing the need for more complex treatments and long