Rights watchdog urges quick reimbursement of expensive new drugs – KBR

The National Human Rights Commission of Korea welcomed the recent reimbursement of CAR-T cell therapy Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel), urging the government to swiftly allow expensive new drugs to be covered by health insurance to save more lives.
Song Doo-hwan, the chairperson of the rights watchdog, said on Monday that insurance benefits for Kymriah allowed pediatric patients with acute lymphocytic leukemia to protect their right to life and health and promoted their right to pursue happiness.
On Jan. 5, NHRCK advised the Ministry of Health and Welfare to develop a system to allow new drugs to become reimbursable quickly if breakthrough drugs such as Kymriah are too expensive for individuals to afford.
“Kymriah’s health insurance listing has brought hope for a cure to hundreds of patients who were at risk of dying within three to six months if they did not receive Kymriah treatment,” Song said.
He called on the government to take the Kymriah case as an opportunity to introduce an accelerated health insurance approval system for new drugs that directly affect the survival of patients.
He pointed out that even if an excellent drug is released thanks to advances in medical technology, there can be many cases where low-income patients who cannot afford the drug could die.
He added that the government should be more aggressive in reviewing introducing the fast reimbursement system for life-saving new drugs.
NHRCK will do its best to ensure that children and adolescents can enjoy the best status of health and to promote their right to pursue happiness and health, he went on to say.
“We hope that the recent reimbursement of Kymriah could become a starting point for our society to move into the policy direction that promotes children’s protection of life and health,” he emphasized.

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