Radioligand Therapy Readiness Assessment Framework applied in the Republic of Korea
On 7 July 2023, a multidisciplinary group of experts discussed the question ‘what is needed to get the Republic of Korea (ROK) ready for the future of radioligand therapy?’. The group had convened for a webinar hosted by GR Korea, a professional government relations and public affairs consultancy in the ROK, with support from The Health Policy Partnership (HPP).
The webinar highlighted findings from rigorous research conducted by GR Korea, with guidance from a multidisciplinary advisory group. Availability of radioligand therapy in the ROK is limited; many people with neuroendocrine neoplasms had to travel abroad for the treatment they needed. This research aimed to understand the policy barriers to these people receiving radioligand therapy. It also looked at identifying gaps in readiness for possible availability of radioligand therapy to a wider audience. Ultimately, the work seeks to support the health system as a whole to ensure that all people in the ROK can promptly receive the care they need.
The structure of the research was based on the Radioligand Therapy Readiness Assessment Framework, an international tool launched by HPP in June 2021. The framework explores readiness across five domains of the health system: governance, regulation and reimbursement, identified need, service provision, and health information.
This is the third application of the Radioligand Therapy Readiness Assessment Framework, following pilot applications in the UK and US. Using a global framework that can be adapted to a local context makes it possible to compare readiness for radioligand therapy across different countries. This in turn supports sharing of expertise and experiences. Starting from a global framework also increases the efficiency of research.
The webinar was chaired by Jiwon Kim, a pharmacist and former Ministry of Food and Drug Safety official, as well as a former biopharma industry advisor with one of the country’s top law firms, and featured opening remarks by Dr Lee, Jae-hyun Professor of Regulatory Sciences at Sungkyunkwan University. During the event:
Dr Kang Keon-wook, Professor of Nuclear Medicine at Seoul National University Hospital and President of the Korean Society of Nuclear Medicine, spoke on the overall regulatory framework and current challenges regarding radioligand therapy. He emphasised the cooperation in governance at the ministry level.
Dr Yoo Chang-hoon, Professor of Medical Oncology at Seoul Asan Medical Center, spoke on the needs for developing Korean-context clinical guidelines and the expected prerequisites for preparing for the clinical guideline development.
Lee Ug, Senior Consultant of Healthcare Practice Group at Lee & Ko, introduced the current challenges with radioligand therapy’s reimbursement within the national health insurance and suggested specific agenda for regulatory amendment, including expansion of the national reimbursement standards for radioligand therapy.
Dr Chung Weon-kuu, Professor of Radiation Oncology at Kyung Hee University Hospital at Gangdong and CEO of RADICURE, spoke on the importance of raising awareness among relevant stakeholders, including patients, physicians, and government officials, to achieve a policy change.
Choi Young-eun, Director of Supply Management Division at the Korea Orphan-Essential Drug Center (KOEDC), called for a systemic change in Korea’s product approval process for radiopharmaceuticals to prepare for the expansion of radioligand therapy’s use in the future.
Dr Hyun Seung-hyup, Professor of Nuclear Medicine at Samsung Medical Center, emphasised the need for increasing fee for service for the radioligand therapy, so that hospitals do not offer the necessary treatment at a loss.
Full English and Korean reports from the research in the ROK can be found here.
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