New committee must allocate NIS 300m. health basket

Members must choose from several billion shekels worth of drugs, technologies.

Pills 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Pills 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Prof. Rafael Beyar, the chairman of the public committee for recommending expansion of the 2011 basket of drugs medical technologies provided by the health funds, said Monday that he was “committed to serve again in this important mission for our patients.
“The Health Ministry has developed a unique and genuine professional and public mechanism” to expand the basket,” said Beyar, who is directorgeneral of Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center and is chairing the panel for the second year in a row.
Beyar and other committee members who were nominated by Health Minister Ya’acov Litzman and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz this week will receive their formal letters of appointment soon, but the first meeting will probably be held in October – as last year – because September is full of Jewish holidays.
The committee will have to choose NIS 300 million worth of drugs and other technologies among a few billion shekels’ worth proposed by manufacturers and importers for inclusion in the “health basket,” which means they will be available through the health funds at a subsidized rate.
Beyar told The Jerusalem Post that “new therapies and technologies to patients continue to develop at a fast rate.”
Litzman said he prefers that committee member serve for a maximum of two years each for “renewal” and to provide a “variety of views.”
He added that the committee’s task is very difficult and requires hard decisions because the budget at its disposal is not enough to supply all the technologies on offer. But Litzman said he was sure the committee would do the best it could to fulfill its mission to help the Israeli public.
The committee coordinator will be Dr. Osnat Luxenburg, head of the ministry’s medical technologies branch.
Other members will be Prof. Ehud Grossman, Prof. Danny Stessman, Dr.
Ze’ev Aharonson, Dr. Yair Zilberstein, Iris Ginzburg, Prof. Daniel Vardi, Prof.
Drorith Hochner, Prof. Elliot Berry, Boaz Sofer, Prof. Daniel Vardi, Prof.
Haim Bitterman, Nurit Dabush, Dr.
Jeros Ya’akub, Prof. Avi Porat, Ilan Sofer, Rabbi Moshe Haim Lau and Dr.
Yoel Lipschitz, who is ministry deputy director-general in charge of supervising the health funds.
The health system ombudswoman, Etti Semama, is the committee’s adviser.
Dr. Roni Gamzu, who previously was a committee member, was replaced, as he is now the ministry’s director-general.
The committee, which must recommend its list of medical technologies before the end of December, last year initially had NIS 430 million worth of drugs to dispense, but this was reduced after the government approved Litzman’s initiative to allocate NIS 85 million to provide subsidized dental care for children up to the age of eight.
The basket expansion for 2011 was reduced largely to continue to provide this service next year.