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Malaysians Show Willingness to Pay in Advanced Cancer Care Amid High Costs, Study Finds

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In a groundbreaking study aimed at understanding the financial burden of innovative oncology medicines on Malaysian patients, researchers have delved into the economic challenges and patient willingness to pay for advanced cancer treatments. The high cost of these medicines has been identified as a significant barrier to access, particularly in public hospital settings, sparking a conversation about the need for more dynamic funding mechanisms to improve access to life-saving treatments.

The research, focusing on the perspectives of 571 Malaysians, sought to gauge the willingness to pay for early access to these cutting-edge oncology treatments. Through a contingent valuation method employing a bidding game, the study explored three scenarios: access to innovative diabetes medicines, a one-off payment for innovative oncology medicine (IOMO), and insurance specifically for innovative oncology treatments. The aim was to uncover both the factors that influence the decision to pay and the amount patients are willing to pay for expedited access to these crucial medicines.

Study Finds Economic Status Influences Malaysians’ Willingness to Pay Advanced Cancer Treatments

With a 95% response rate, the demographic profile of respondents showed a mean age of 48 years, with a predominance of females (60.3%) and individuals of Malay ethnicity (62%). Notably, a significant portion of those surveyed, about 343 (64.7%), expressed a willingness to invest in IOMO. Interestingly, individuals in higher income brackets indicated a readiness to contribute more than the overall mean willingness to pay value, suggesting that economic status plays a critical role in access to innovative cancer care.

The study’s conclusions shed light on the broader implications of financing healthcare in Malaysia, particularly for cancer patients. With more than half of the respondents willing to pay an average of 279.10 Malaysian Ringgit (approximately US$66.77) for access to IOMO, there’s a clear indication of the population’s readiness to support advancements in oncology treatment, provided there are suitable financial mechanisms in place.

Willingness to Pay

Call for Collaborative Funding to Boost Access to Cancer Medicines in Malaysia, Study Urges

The findings call for the establishment of collaborative funding solutions and financial screening processes among stakeholders to enhance access to innovative oncology medicines. Such measures could significantly alleviate the financial strain on patients while ensuring that advancements in cancer treatment are within reach for those in need.

This study marks a crucial step towards understanding the economic barriers to cancer treatment access in Malaysia and highlights the potential of personalized healthcare funding to revolutionize access to advanced medical treatments. As Malaysia grapples with the challenges of integrating innovative oncology medicines into its healthcare system, this research underscores the importance of addressing financial hurdles to ensure that all patients have access to the best possible care.


Original Article DOI: 10.1016/j.vhri.2023.10.003

Original title: Determining the Willingness to Pay for Innovative Oncology Medicines in Malaysia

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