Bellvitge Hospital applies innovative public procurement system in the field of health

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The Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL) has awarded the company Reig Jofré a bidding to acquire a diagnostic system of endometrial cancer applicable to primary health care centres. This is the first experience of innovative pre-commercial public procurement in the health sector made in Catalonia. The product, which is named GynEC-DX, will be tested in a study of patients at South Barcelona, coordinated by the Bellvitge University Hospital.

The Bellvitge campus is a pioneer in the application of this type of procurement. In 2011, the Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO), the Department of Health and the company AstraZeneca began this journey with the launch of a pilot venture to give patients access to a new drug for lung cancer.

The innovative public procurement system is regulated by the Spanish Law 14/2011, of June 1, on Science, Technology and Innovation and the text of the law 30/2007, of 30 October, on the public sector procurements. The initiative is also supported by the Strategic Plan for Research and Innovation in Health of the Generalitat de Catalunya 2012-2015.

Visibility of research

The system aims to increase local and international visibility of the research carried out in our country, as well as promoting the application of research results, using the purchasing power of the public sector.

The IDIBELL CEO, Emilià Pola, which has promoted the implementation of innovative public procurement at Biopol’H space, explains that the model “is a new way of conceiving the purchase of products and services for the Administration, traditionally focused more on the administrative process than in results.” Pola notes that the system is based on “not only in terms of purchase price, immediately, but taking into account other factors such as industrial innovation and savings that a new technology can bring, in the long term.”

Endometrial cancer diagnosis

After the pilot venture promoted by ICO, the second shopping experience in the area of ​​public health carried out in Catalonia is the acquisition of a diagnostic service for endometrial cancer, developed by the pharmaceutical company Reig Jofré and the biotechnological company Oryzon, both Catalan. The diagnostic kit is based on a technology developed by researchers at the Vall d’Hebron Research Institute (VHIR).

Endometrial cancer is the most common female genital tract malignant disease and the most common cancer among women in Spain, after breast cancer. More than 90 percent of cases occur in women over 50 years. The main symptom is abnormal vaginal bleeding. Its diagnosis is made by hysteroscopy, a hospital invasive procedure that allows to see inside the uterus through an endoscopy system.

Alternative to hysteroscopy

The equipment developed by Reig Jofré and replace Oryzon allows substituting hysteroscopy. The new diagnostic method can be performed in primary care centres. This saves time and money and reduce the suffering of patients. The product has been validated in several clinical studies and has shown superior efficacy to 97 percent. However, it has not been commercialized yet.

The market will jump in Bellvitge University Hospital, in a study coordinated by the head of the Department of Gynaecology of the hospital and researcher at IDIBELL, Jordi Ponce. The study will involve 60 patients who will be divided into two groups: one shall be subjected to the traditional procedure and the other, to the innovative procedure. The research will compare the economic cost and the clinical benefit of both methods.

Emilià Pola stresses that this study and the incorporation of new technology in primary care protocols is of great value to the contractor. The IDIBELL CEO also remarks that if the study results are positive, the volume of business that can generate this technology could be considerable.

Thus, companies that have participated in this public procurement competition share the risks of the study pledging to give a minimum stake of one percent of product sales made during the next five years in Catalonia.

The sharing of risks in implementing a new technology is a hallmark of innovative public procurement system that allows public institutions to benefit from advantageous conditions. It also allows companies to prove the effectiveness of the product tested in a real environment.

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