Health basket panel out to prove it's not impotent

Chairman says committee will "act in a skillful way to give the public the maximum results."

pills 88 (photo credit: )
pills 88
(photo credit: )
Prof. Menahem Fainaru, chairman of the public committee for recommending new medications and medical technologies for inclusion in the 2008 basket of health services, has decided not to set a precedent by opening its sessions to the press. Instead, he has kept a commitment to release daily summaries. The first meeting of the 16-member committee started on the left foot a few weeks ago, when Israel Medical Association chairman Dr. Yoram Blachar resigned at the outset after charging it would be an "impotent body chosen according to the Treasury's directives." Fainaru, a former dean of Tel Aviv University's Sackler School of Medicine, said then that if he were persuaded that opening deliberations to the press for the first time would be harmful, he would insist on publicizing a summary of discussions, which he did for its second meeting on Sunday. At the second session Fainaru said the committee "would be directed by professional, ethical, moral and social values and act in a skillful way to give the public the maximum results with explanations [of the committee's choice of health services]." The basket committee has only NIS 300 million to allocate, with 447 drugs and more than 100 medical technologies worth NIS 1.5 billion presented as candidates for inclusion. In 1999, when the first committee met, only 88 drugs and medical technologies had been presented for inclusion. The health funds must supply everything in the basket to members with suitable medical conditions at state expense. Today's basket includes about 2,400 drugs and 1,100 technologies. The panel is due to recommend its list of priorities to the Health and Finance Ministries before the end of December.