The Health Ministry's committee preparing recommendations on which medical technologies to add to the basket of health services has invited the public to send it comments and recommendations via a Web site. The drugs and medical equipment in the basket are supplied to patients by their health fund, subsidized by the Finance Ministry. The Treasury has agreed to expand the basket by NIS 275 million in 2008. Prof. Menachem Fainaru, chairman of the 16-member committee, said that while patient organizations and pharmaceutical companies have already sent their comments (and lobbyists) to the panel, the members wanted to hear from individuals so "we can hear the voices that don't reach us." The panel held its fifth meeting at Ramat Efal, near Tel Aviv, on Thursday. Comments sent to [email protected] will be put together by basket committee coordinator Dr. Anat Luxemburg. Letters can be sent to her at 2 Rehov Ben-Tabbai, San Simon, Jerusalem. The panel's priority list is slated to be determined during the next few weeks. The basket committee and the Israel Medical Association's alternative forum on the basket are competing for the limelight. The forum, which held its second meeting at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Beit Belgia on its Givat Ram campus Thursday, has its sessions completely open to the press and is aimed at influencing the official committee. The basket committee has opened its sessions to the press for the first time in a decade after being worried about "competition" from the forum, whose members are very eminent. But journalists who come to the Ramat Efal meetings may not quote or photograph anyone. Attendance at both events has been sparse because they have been very procedural and technical.