The Medicines Basket Committee will convene today for its first meeting ahead of the decision on the medicines to be added to the basket in 2022. This year, as last year, the dates of the Committee’s meetings have not been announced – unlike in previous years. At basket meetings, drug companies submit a file with information on each drug that goes to the committee. The discussions each time deal with a different group of diseases and treatments. The drugs are then graded, and finally the committee members decide what to put in the drug basket and what not.
Among the members of the committee this year are the chairman of the committee, Prof. Yonatan Halevi, president of Shaare Zedek Medical Center; Rabbi Chaim Amsalem, former Knesset member, chairman of the Am Shalem movement; M; Mr. Lior Barak, Deputy Supervisor of HMOs at the Ministry of Health; Dr. Efrat City, Director of the Psychiatric Department at Hillel Yaffe Medical Center; Mr. Roi Reicher, Health Referent at the Ministry of Finance and more.
Among other things, the Committee for Lung Cancer Medicines (NSCLC), which is considered the leading cause of death among all malignant diseases, is expected to be discussed. Every year, about 2,600 new patients are diagnosed and 1,600 die from the disease. More than half of patients are diagnosed with advanced stages of the disease, as its symptoms are not specific.
13% of patients with NSCLC carry a mutation that is considered particularly lethal, but to date the treatment options for patients in advanced stages have been limited and limited. LUMAKRAS is a groundbreaking drug that uses a molecule that inhibits the KRAS protein. This is real news in the field of late and / or metastatic cancer treatment, after decades in which there was no response to these patients. Good efficacy was demonstrated in the treatment, with control of the disease being achieved in 80.6% of the patients – a contraction in the tumor or at least a halt in the progression of the tumor was observed.
Another treatment that is expected to be discussed is related to multiple myeloma. In Israel at any given moment there are about 5,000 patients (at various levels), 500 new patients every year and about 100 very advanced defined blue patients who have failed in all possible treatment lines in the drug basket. Most patients are diagnosed around the age of 65 and over, but in recent years there has been a trend around the world to diagnose the disease at younger ages, around the age of 40.
Menashe Magrisso, 72, from Karmiel who received BLENREP treatment, says: “I have had multiple myeloma for four years. With this treatment, unlike previous treatment lines, the disease levels have dropped miraculously, my quality of life and family life has improved and I have become optimistic about the future.”
Sigal Ratzin, CEO of One in Nine, adds: “Breast cancer is the most common cause of mortality among young women in Israel. Every year 5,500 new patients are diagnosed. About a quarter of women are under the age of 50. That is why this is the third year that we are applying to the health basket to lower the age of mammography from 50 to 40. ”