Seminar | Should a ‘Lifesaving’ medication be defined technologically or socially?

Dov Chernichovsky, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel

Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019
10:30-11:30 am
Room 202, 2206 East Mall
School of Population and Public Health
University of British Columbia

Residents of Israel are entitled to universal health coverage that includes medications, medical devices and equipment. Privately acquired quasi-public (cross-subsidized) supplemental insurance can cover treatments and technologies not included in entitlement. Supplemental insurance cannot cover ‘lifesaving medications’. Rapid advances in pharmaceutical technology combined with sharply rising prices of medications, notably those becoming personalized, has brought the debate about discretionary insurability of lifesaving medications to centre stage. Who is to decide what are lifesaving medications: clinicians, industry, patients, and/or society? Can the state proclaim or endorse a medical technology as lifesaving and, simultaneously, not underwrite its provision? This seminar will deal with these questions in the context of the rationale, goals and principles of universal health coverage, and propose solutions for, at least, Israel.

Dov Chernichovsky is a professor emeritus of health economics and policy in the Department of Health Administration at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, and Health Policy Program Chair at the Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel. He is also a Research Associate with the National Bureau of Economic Research in the USA and the Chairman of the Israeli National Nutrition Security Council. He has worked and consulted for the World Bank, where he played a vital role in health system reform formulations in Romania, Russia, Mexico, Colombia and Costa Rica, and helped to formulate the health insurance legislation underlying the current Russian health system.

This seminar is co-sponsored by the UBC School of Population and Public Health, Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Evaluation, and Centre for Health Services and Policy Research. You may also join remotely via GoToMeeting: