Tools to measure and value health change in children (TORCH)
Health agencies across the world regularly make recommendations to governments on whether the cost of a medicine should be subsidised. In making these recommendations, the safety, effectiveness and efficiency of the medicine compared to the alternative medicine or treatment must be considered.
Efficiency is estimated by economic evaluations that compare the cost and health outcomes of the new medicine with the alternative treatment.
Evaluations need to address outcomes specific to the medicine for example it could be a treatment for asthma or high blood pressure or diabetes. But importantly the evaluation must also consider the effects of the medicine or treatment on quality of life.
Health technology assessment agencies are well versed in the methods for measuring and evaluating quality of life in adults. However, due to many practical and methodological challenges in child populations this is not the case for medicines aimed at improving the health of children.
TORCH is an international-collaborative project that addresses these challenges through the development of reliable tools to support evaluations of the efficiency of medicines for improving the health of children. These will be directly relevant to decisions made by policymakers.
The programme will provide robust evidence on how health in children should be measured and incorporated when evaluating the efficiency of a new medicine or treatment. As there are many tools used to measure quality of life in children, TORCH will develop ways in which results from the most important ones can be incorporated into economic evaluations. This will overcome the need to rely on just one measure or tool.
Meeting the needs of policy makers and researchers is key to the success of TORCH. This will be achieved through a programme of workshops attended by a broad cross-section of stakeholders. These will be conducted over the course of the project.