The assessment of new drugs for asthma and COPD: A Delphi study examining the perspectives of Italian payers and clinicians

Silvia Sommariva*, Aureliano P. Finch, Claudio Jommi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are disorders of the lungs characterized by airflow obstruction, inflammation and tissue remodeling. Management of patients with these diseases is complex and the improvement of diagnostic-therapeutic strategies represents a critical challenge for the healthcare system. In this context, investigating the criteria and information needed for an appropriate and effective evaluation of incoming treatment options is crucial to ensure that clinicians and policy-makers are provided with the best available evidence to make decisions aimed at improving patient outcomes. Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate the degree of agreement among Health Technology Assessment (HTA) experts on issues crucial to the evaluation of new drugs for asthma and COPD and to appropriately manage the clinical pathway for patients. Method: This research was conducted using an e-Delphi technique organized in three subsequent rounds and involving a panel of ten experts (six regional and local payers and four clinicians). Panelists were asked to comment in written form on a set of statements, explaining qualitatively the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with the assertions. Statements were subsequently modified and resubmitted for assessment. Results: Panelists expressed their opinions during each round and, after round III, a consensus document was finalized. The degree of consensus was high among experts and concerned five main topics: (a) the need to address current unmet needs of patients with asthma or COPD, (b) the importance of further studies and real-life information in the evaluation of treatments, (c) existing evidence and evidence needed to assess drugs, (d) critical issues in obtaining a positive evaluation from regional and local authorities for new treatments to be included in regional formularies and to have an important place in therapeutic categories, and (e) the major obstacles to the appropriate administration of drugs and management of patients. Conclusion: The final document highlights that no proof of difference among drugs exists, that evidence on final endpoints (and particularly on mortality) should be strengthened and that actions regarding risk factors, appropriate diagnosis, patient staging and adherence to therapy are particularly important for a better clinical management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number38
JournalMultidisciplinary Respiratory Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2016


  • Asthma
  • COPD
  • Delphi


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