Population-level biomedical research offers new opportunities to improve population health, but also raises new challenges to traditional systems of research governance and ethical oversight. Partly in response to these challenges, various models of public involvement in research are being introduced. Yet, the ways in which public involvement should meet governance challenges are not well understood. We conducted a qualitative study with 36 experts and stakeholders using the World Café method to identify key governance challenges and explore how public involvement can (...) meet these challenges. This brief report discusses four cross-cutting themes from the study: the need to move beyond individual consent; issues in benefit and data sharing; the challenge of delineating and understanding publics; and the goal of clarifying justifications for public involvement. The report aims to provide a starting point for making sense of the relationship between public involvement and the governance of population-level biomedical research, showing connections, potential solutions and issues arising at their intersection. We suggest that, in population-level biomedical research, there is a pressing need for a shift away from conventional governance frameworks focused on the individual and towards a focus on collectives, as well as to foreground ethical issues around social justice and develop ways to address cultural diversity, value pluralism and competing stakeholder interests. There are many unresolved questions around how this shift could be realised, but these unresolved questions should form the basis for developing justificatory accounts and frameworks for suitable collective models of public involvement in population-level biomedical research governance. (shrink)
Biomedical research funding bodies across Europe and North America increasingly encourage—and, in some cases, require—investigators to involve members of the public in funded research. Yet there remains a striking lack of clarity about what ‘good’ or ‘successful’ public involvement looks like. In an effort to provide guidance to investigators and research organisations, representatives of several key research funding bodies in the UK recently came together to develop the National Standards for Public Involvement in Research. The Standards have critical implications for (...) the future of biomedical research in the UK and in other countries as researchers and funders abroad look to the Standards as a model for their own policy development. We assess the Standards and find that despite offering useful suggestions for dealing with practical challenges associated with public involvement, the Standards fail to address fundamental questions about when, why and with whom public involvement should be undertaken in the first place. We show that presented without this justificatory context, many of the recommendations in the Standards are, at best, fragments that require substantial elaboration by those looking to apply the Standards in their own work and, at worst, subject to potentially harmful misapplication by well-meaning investigators. As funding bodies increasingly push for public involvement in research, the key lesson of our analysis is that future recommendations about how public involvement should be conducted cannot be coherently formulated without a clear sense of the underlying goals and rationales for public involvement. (shrink)
Patient and public involvement (PPI) has gained widespread support in health research and health policy circles, but there is little consensus on the precise meaning or justifications of PPI. We argue that an important step towards clarifying the meaning and justification for PPI is to split apart the familiar acronym and draw a distinction between patient and public involvement. Specifically, we argue that patient involvement should refer to the practice of involving individuals in health research or policy on the basis (...) of their experience with a particular condition, while public involvement should refer to the practice of involving individuals in health policy or research based on their status as members of a relevant population. Analyzing cases from the UK, Australia, and the USA, we show how our proposed distinction can deliver much needed clarity to conversations on PPI, while guiding the development and evaluation of future PPI‐based policies. (shrink)
We discuss the role of prior authorization (PA) in supporting patient-centered care (PCC) by directing health system resources and thus the ability to better meet the needs of individual patients. We begin with an account of PCC as a standard that should be aimed for in patient care. In order to achieve widespread PCC, appropriate resource management is essential in a healthcare system. This brings us to PA, and we present an idealized view of PA in order to argue how (...) at its best, it can contribute to the provision of PCC. PA is a means of cost saving and as such it has mixed success. The example of the US demonstrates how implementation of PA has increased health inequalities whereas best practice has the potential to reduce them. In contrast, systems of universal coverage, like those in Europe, may use the cost savings of PA to better address individuals' care and PCC. The conclusion we offer therefore is an optimistic one, pointing towards areas of supportive overlap between PCC and PA where usually the incongruities are most evident. (shrink)
Gene therapies to treat sickle cell disease are in development and are expected to have high costs. The large eligible population size — by far, the largest for a gene therapy — poses daunting budget challenges and threatens to exacerbate health disparities for Black patients, who make up the vast majority of American sickle cell patients.
State Medicaid programs have proposed closed formularies to limit spending on drugs. Closed formularies can be justified when they enable spending on other socially valuable aims. However, it is still necessary to justify guidelines informing formulary design, which can be done through a process of decision making that includes the public. This article examines criticisms that Medicaid closed formularies limit deliberation about decisions that affect drug access and unfairly disadvantage poor patients. Although unfairness to poor patients is a risk, it (...) is not a problem unique to Medicaid, since private insurance programs have also implemented closed formularies. (shrink)
The Covid‐19 pandemic highlighted the need to examine public trust in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) vaccine approval process and the role of political influence in the FDA's decisions. Ensuring that the FDA is itself trustworthy is important for justifying public trust in its actions, like vaccine approvals, thereby promoting public health. We propose five conditions of trustworthiness that the FDA should meet when it reviews vaccines, even during emergencies: consistency with rules, proper expert or political decision‐makers, proper (...) decision‐making and noninterference, connection to public preference, and transparency of both reasons and procedures. The five conditions provide a road map of procedural and substantive requirements, which the FDA has variably implemented, focused on ensuring appropriate influence of political interests. While being a trustworthy agency cannot guarantee the public's trust, implementing these conditions builds a groundwork for public trust. (shrink)
In many countries, health technology assessment organizations determine the economic value of new drugs and make recommendations regarding appropriate pricing and coverage in national health systems. In the US, recent policy proposals aimed at reducing drug costs would link drug prices to six countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the UK. We reviewed these countries’ methods of HTA and guidance on price and coverage recommendations, analyzing methods and guidance documents for differences in the methodologies HTA organizations use to conduct (...) their evaluations and considerations they use when making recommendations. We found important differences in the methods, interpretations of HTA findings, and condition-specific carve-outs that HTA organizations use to conduct evaluations and make recommendations. These variations have ethical implications because they influence the recommendations of HTA organizations, which affect access to the drug through national insurance and price negotiations with manufacturers. The differences in HTA approaches result from the distinct political, social, and cultural contexts of each organization and its value judgments. New cost-containment policies in the US should consider the ethical implications of the HTA reviews that they are considering relying on to negotiate drug prices and what values should be included in US pricing policy. (shrink)