HCA is leading the way to new therapies and a Healthier Washington

Thursday, July 18, 2019

HCA has created the Emerging Therapies Workgroup in response to interest in new treatment methods from the medical community and patients alike. The workgroup’s primary function is to look at prospective and emerging therapies – specifically their impacts on patients in Washington State.

This is an exciting opportunity to take a look at new approaches to continuing health issues, and improving patient health through more effective means while keeping overall cost down. Many questions arise when we start talking about changing the way we treat disease.

Zolgensma, a new gene therapy to treat Spinal Muscular Atrophy, is a prime example.  The FDA approved it for a broader population than what was included in the studies conducted by the manufacturer.  After it was approved in May, the maker of Zolgensma announced a $2.1 million price tag for the drug. How well does it work and what are the side effects long term? Is it worth the money and what are the tradeoffs?

“When the answers are not clear, it’s good to have a conversation,” said HCA Chief Medical Officer Dr. Judy Zerzan.

The initial charter for the workgroup highlights an ambitious timeline to kickoff this conversation between medical professionals, managed care organizations, and patients and patient advocacy organizations. Two of the four meetings scheduled through early 2020 are dedicated to patient experience, and quality oversight and improvements.

For more information on the Emerging Therapies Workgroup, please contact HCA Chief Pharmacy Officer Donna Sullivan.