A panel of international experts gathered during the 2020 Health Technology Assessment International Annual Meeting to discuss the burden of Alzheimer's disease (AD) on patients, their families, the health care system, and society as a whole. The symposium titled "Assessing the value of delayed progression in early Alzheimer's disease: what are the critical issues?" highlighted the breadth of perspectives and outcomes that should be accounted for when assessing the value of novel treatments for AD.
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Symposium moderator William L. Herring, PhD, Senior Director, Health Economics at RTI Health Solutions, emphasized the role of economic modeling in assessing the value of treatments for AD. He discussed novel elements of value that researchers might consider in future economic models, such as family spillover effects and the value of hope. He also examined data and methodological challenges presented by treatments in development for early AD, including the early AD population's heterogeneity and the need for evidence linking short-term clinical-trial endpoints to long-term AD outcomes.
Other symposium panelists offered additional viewpoints on value in AD. One panelist emphasized that in addition to concerns about memory and daily functioning, patients value their sense of identity, the ability to maintain social connections, and not being a burden on others. Another advocated a long-term societal perspective when assessing the value of early AD treatments, because the burden of AD is concentrated in the later stages of the disease and extends beyond the health care system. A third panelist underscored that the full societal burden of AD, including its impact on caregivers and macroeconomic factors such as productivity and unemployment, has yet to be thoroughly assessed.
The question-and-answer session highlighted several essential themes. First, there was broad consensus that value assessment in AD should incorporate the breadth of relevant outcomes, thus allowing diverse stakeholders and decision-makers to tailor assessments to their specific needs. Second, participants agreed that additional research is required on both traditional and novel elements of value to improve our understanding of the burden of AD. Finally, the panelists and audience united in their enthusiasm for the crucial role that value assessment will play in securing access for patients with AD and their caregivers to safe and effective treatments for this debilitating disease.