22.03.2018 change 22.03.2018

Szumowski: We are working on the Medical Research Agency

Photo: PAP Photo: PAP

The Ministry of Health is working on the Medical Research Agency, announced the Minister of Health Łukasz Szumowski. The agency will evaluate research and development projects in the field of medical technologies in order to open the way to reimbursement.

The ministry is also working on the assumptions of the Development Reimbursement Procedure (Refundacyjny Tryb Rozwojowy, RTR). It is a mechanism that differentiates the public payer reimbursement procedure for enterprises that run or finance research and development in Poland and for those that do so abroad.

The Minister of Health took part in the panel discussion devoted to innovation in the medical devices industry during the 3rd Health Challenges Congress (HCC) on March 8-10 in Katowice.

Szumowski said that in the process of researching, developing and implementing new medical technologies in Poland there are ideas, research paths and possibilities of running projects to the stage of a functioning prototype. This process, however, stops on the issue of reimbursement that allows to market the product.

"To have this reimbursement - and I am not responsible for the economy, but for patients - if we have a lot of new medical technologies, great, (...) but if we have a specific budget for healthcare in Poland, how do we distribute it? Which non-drug and drug technologies will bring the greatest benefit to patients, which will improve the indicators?" - Szumowski asked.

"Here we get to (...) the things that we are preparing at the Ministry of Health: the Medical Research Agency" - said the Minister and emphasised that agencies of this type operated in the world.

Poland has the National Science Centre that finances basic research and the National Centre for Research and Development that finances implementation research. "We do not have an agency that would analyse the impact of these products that come out of the National Centre for Research and Development on the patient population" - the minister pointed out.

He mentioned that such an agency should also finance the part of the necessary research that would not be ensured by the private sector. "There will never be clinical trials of certain innovative processes, in areas that do not directly serve the interests of companies. That is why we need an agency that will fund non-commercial clinical trials" - he explained.

He also referred to the work on a mechanism that would employ a different procedure for subsequent reimbursement of new products from the public payer for enterprises conducting or financing research and development in Poland, than for those that conduct such activities abroad and treat Poland only as a sales market.

"We are working on the Development Reimbursement Procedure - and this mainly concerns medicines, but should not only apply to medicines, but all areas of reimbursement (...) We want Polish innovators to work in Poland so that the sector of private money for research and development grows" - said Szumowski.

"If we introduce it, I hope that the amount of money in the R&D area in Poland will increase, be it in the form of R&D departments, or in the form of financing science and R&D research, for example the Medical Research Agency" - he said.

He warned against ill-conceived economic patriotism. Emphasizing the issue of responsibility for patients, he stressed that good Polish companies and products should be supported. At the same time, any company, regardless of ownership or location, can invest in Poland, develop an R&D department, contribute to the development of innovation.

"We`re not saying it`s only about Polish companies, or that we favour Polish companies. But right now there is an imbalance in the other direction. Meaning that Polish companies invest in R&D in Poland, bear costs in Poland, and start on the same terms as corporations that transfer R&D to other parts of the world. We want to return to fair play, fair competition, and reward the fact that companies - both Polish and foreign ones - develop R&D in Poland" - explained the minister.

In this context, he repeated that the task of the Minister of Health should be to improve the evaluation system for developing new technologies - both drug and non-drug ones.

"This is the purpose of the Medical Research Agency, because regardless of the fact that the National Science Centre and the National Centre for Research and Development finance product development, at the end we have to somehow finance the pilot run - and this is already happening - but also non-commercial research, for example whether the specific product can be used in Poland, whether it works in the Polish healthcare system (...) and whether it brings the results that we expect" - he explained. (PAP)

author: Mateusz Babak

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