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Steve Pearson, President of the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), has published two pieces for Connecticut’s Donaghue Foundation Soapbox on the importance of meaningful patient engagement in value assessments and an exciting new initiative to move beyond the usual rhetoric and integrate patient priorities into the value assessment outcomes. Patients are usually left out of the room when important decisions setting prices, and access to, new drugs. Decisions are too often made in negotiations between drug companies and insurers, without much patient input. No one is closer to the effectiveness and value of a medication than people who live with the condition, but too often big interests assume they know what patients need and their voices are not heard. ICER is changing that. ICER deliberately seeks out and engages patients and patient advocates all through each review’s eight-month process. More than just listening, ICER incorporates patient input into their value benchmarks expanding access to critical treatments. To build on the value of the patient voice, ICER has launched a new Patient Engagement Program. The new initiative will partner with patient organizations and devote more resources to engage and support patients participating in assessments, let patients define clinical priorities, and make the input concrete by including it in economic modeling.   

In other news, ICER just announced they will be reviewing the evidence on supervised injection facilities and digital apps for Opioid Use Disorder.  Expanding on previous assessments of abuse-deterrent opioids, medication-assisted treatment, and non-drug interventions for back pain, ICER will assess the clinical and economic effectiveness of these new promising interventions. The new studies are part of ICER’s commitment to provide policymakers with actionable information on the best ways to devote resources to address this public health crisis. ICER’s other non-drug assessments include behavioral health integration into primary care, breast cancer screening, and community health workers.