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Dozens of New Drugs and Therapies Added to Health Basket

The Health Ministry has published an updated list of items that will be covered under Israel's National Health Insurance.
By David Lev
First Publish: 12/25/2012, 6:26 PM

An Israeli health fund clinic
An Israeli health fund clinic

Members of the Health Ministry's panel on state subsidized drugs and therapies on Tuesday published an updated list of items that will be covered under Israel's National Health Insurance. Drugs and therapies included on the list are available for no cost or for a symbolic cost of a few shekels to all Israelis.

Among the drugs to be included this year will be Gardasil, made by MSD, a vaccine against cervical cancer. The drug will be provided beginning next year to all eighth grade female students in Israel.

In addition, the Committee approved the inclusion of several new drugs for the treatment of epilepsy and several other forms of cancer. A new pregnancy testing system was approved, as was the drug Risperdal, used for the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and behavior problems in people with autism.

Out of the 680 treatments and drugs presented for inclusion in the list, only several new ones were chosen. The approvals will require an additional government expenditure of NIS 300 million ($80 million).

A full list (in Hebrew) of the covered drugs and therapies is available here.

MK Rachel Adato, head of the Knesset Health Lobby and a former member of the approval panel, said that the additional money was appreciated, but that much more was needed. “Despite the growth of Israel's population and the increased number of elderly citizens, the 'Health Basket' of subsidized procedures and drugs has not been expanded appropriately to serve the country's needs. The panel did its best in the face of government cutbacks. Unfortunately, the result of this underfunding will be that many of those that need assistance will not get it,” she said.