Significant number of healthcare payers in the UK and the US want to participate more actively in drug development, and at all stages of the process, a new study has found.

In a survey conducted among National Health Service Executives in the UK and managed care executives in the US for this year’s New Health Report, commissioned by biopharmaceutical services company Quintiles, only 18% of UK payers, for example, claimed some involvement in preclinical testing whereas 43% felt they should be involved.

The corresponding figures for US payers were 23% and 45% respectively. The US scores were similar for Phase I testing (24% of US payers were already involved, 44% felt they should be), rising to 27% and 48% for Phase II and to 31% and 61% respectively for Phase III development.

Among the UK payers, 25% said they were already involved in Phase I trials and 48% felt they should be. At Phase II the corresponding UK figures were 36% and 64%, and at Phase III 52% and 70% respectively.

“Payers’ interest in early involvement in the drug development process, complemented by their experience in balancing risk and benefit, could serve as a wake-up call to the biopharmaceutical industry,” commented John Doyle, vice president and managing director for Consulting at Quintiles.  

Rethinking risk

The broader remit of The New Health Report 2012 is ‘Rethinking the Risk Equation in Biopharmaceutical Medicine’ Surveys of biopharmaceutical executives, US and UK payers, patients living with chronic disease and investors who focus on the healthcare sectors were conducted for Quintiles by US-based company Richard Day Research.

One factor that might drive earlier interaction between drug developers and payers, the report notes, is risk-sharing agreements.

In the surveys, 60% of the biopharmaceutical executives interviewed expected to see more of these over the next five years, while 63% thought they would bring significant or slight improvements in getting drugs to patients more quickly.

Among the UK payers surveyed for The New Health Report 2012, 93% felt risk-sharing agreements would mean significant or slight improvements in getting drugs to patients more quickly, although the corresponding US figure was only 59%.