It has been nearly 3 years since the government of Korea began granting selective health insurance coverage for gene panel tests, based on next-generation sequencing, for 10 most commonly occurring cancers, in the March of 2017.
From the previous year’s May, reimbursement’s scope extended to all kinds of solid cancer, hospitals in Korea have accumulated over 7,000 cases of next-generation sequencing data every year. Still, no country-wide database is present to integrate concerned NGS data with medicine prescriptions, clinical data, and therapeutic results.
Kang Jin-hyoung, the President at the Korean Cancer Study Group, stated in a talk with Korea Biomedical Review how the NDS data acquired by the national health insurance program belongs to the people of Korea who have subscribed to the health insurance, even though hospitals and concerned parties may differ in their opinions.
Kang Jin-hyoung is also a professor at the Catholic University of Korea School of Medicine’s Oncology Department. He stated how the government should be in charge of managing the NGS data, on the public’s behalf.
He looks at Japan’s example, which lagged 2 years behind Korea to allow, for NGS testing, insurance benefits.
Kang Jin-hyoung stated that by learning from Korea’s errors, the govt. of Japan was establishing NGS data as an asset to use for study and progress, medicine approval, patient care, and insurance.
A research paper titled “Precision Oncology and the Universal Health Coverage System in Japan” was published on the 11th of December in the American Society of Clinical Oncology. In it, Japan initiated a center to incorporate the network of hospitals that had went through with conducting next-generation sequencing data prior to the reimbursement and gathering and overviewing patients’ genomic profiling.
Over 170 medical establishments were established by Japan for NGS testing.