Seoul, South Korea – Since 1989, Korea has had a comprehensive National Health Insurance system, which also covers most implantable and disposable medical devices. Although medical devices account for only about 4% of the total budget, considerable attention is paid to controlling their reimbursement and pricing. However, the regulations and processes in place are unclear, cumbersome and inadequate to deal with a rapidly innovating sector.
In the article, “Medical Device Reimbursement Coverage and Pricing Rules in Korea: Current Practice and Issues with Access to Innovation,” published in Value in Health, Sang-Soo Lee, MBA, Corporate Affairs Director at Medtronic Korea and Eugene Salole, PhD, Principal at Value-Based Access, Sydney, Australia, highlight the two key issues for medical reimbursement in South Korea: allocation of appropriate prices to innovative technologies, and the reduction of reimbursement for older products, necessary to make budgetary headroom.
The authors conclude that though there has been progress in the regulations over the last decade (for example, the introduction of a value appraisal process), considerable scope for improvement in fairness and transparency of process remains. Sang-Soo Lee says, “There has been little advancement over the last decade in the rules controlling the reimbursement and pricing of innovative medical devices in Korea, despite protracted discussions between stakeholders. The Korean community deserves better.”
Value in Health (ISSN 1098-3015) publishes papers, concepts, and ideas that advance the field of pharmacoeconomics and outcomes research as well as policy papers to help health care leaders make evidence-based decisions. The journal is published bi-monthly and has over 8,000 subscribers (clinicians, decision-makers, and researchers worldwide).
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