Continuous innovation: German BMC congress

Once a year, the Bundesverband Managed Care e.V. (BMC) invites representatives from politics, science and health economy to the BMC congress taking place at the Langenbeck-Virchow House in Berlin. The conference attracts around 500 attendees and counts among the most important events in health care policy, allowing for in-depth dialogues between health care professionals.

This year Lilly, through its PACE initiative (Patient Access to Cancer Care) introduced a new online tool called "Continuous Innovation Indicators". It aims at highlighting the progress in cancer therapies over the last decades and seeks to achieve a better understanding progress in oncology science. Barbara Baysal, chairwoman of the patient advocacy federation “Self-help Lung” (dt.: Selbsthilfe Lunge) took part in the panel discussion and describes her impressions:

“To impart the complexity of Continuous Innovation Indicators as a scientific analysis tool that took two years to develop, unfortunately, the 50-minute event was probably too short. It is certainly interesting to shine a light on the process and to challenge the results. However, what should be remembered is: With the help of the evidence-based online tool it is possible to describe the innovative character of twelve different cancer indications. Unlike what many people might suspect, progress in cancer treatment has most often been achieved in small, individual steps rather than with a great breakthrough. In this way, the meaning of every single innovation can be aligned with the general progress.

In my opinion, it became very clear that some patients greatly benefited from the progress in recent years. In the meantime, there is still no suitable therapy available for the majority of patients. This is why the message must be: We aren’t done yet. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean we should fixate only on the number of new options or the average prolongation of life in clinical studies. It is especially important to take into account the preservation of life quality which is important in these often palliative situations: “To live well with cancer” is our main objective and considering the therapeutic progress, this is already possible for a lot of patients these days. Of course, what exactly it means “to live well”, how to define personal quality of life, and what a patient thinks of life with cancer can only be answered individually.

The discussion about the Continuous Innovation Indicators has emphasised the challenges in cancer therapies. I am already looking forward to continuing this discussion with all attendees in the future.”