Background: In Kuwait, the government is planning to improve the specifications for purchase of medicine and to improve the tendering system intending to slow the growth of the expenditure for medicine and to improve the sustainability of the healthcare system. Multiple Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) is a method which can help to assess multiple and sometimes conflicting criteria in the evaluation of the available alternatives. The objective of this initiative was to develop collaboratively a MCDA tool which is locally relevant, and which could be used to improve the use of performance indicators in the purchasing of off-patent pharmaceuticals.
Methods: Nineteen leading experts representing a broad range of pharmaceutical policy stakeholders elaborated a locally adapted MCDA format by following a 7-step process for criteria selection, scoring, ranking and weighting.
Results: The most important criterion was the price measured as savings versus the originator product with a weight of 35% in the final decision and a full score with a 60% price reduction. In addition, eight criteria were considered important for assessing the product performance in the Kuwaiti healthcare system: 'equivalence with the reference product' (weight of 16.2%), 'stability and drug formulation' (13.5%), 'quality assurance' (11.2%), 'reliability of drug supply' (8.8%), 'macroeconomic benefit' (5.5%), 'real world outcomes (clinical and economic)' (4.2%), 'pharmacovigilance' (3.3%), and 'added value services related to the product' (2.3%).
Conclusions: A MCDA model was successfully adapted to the Kuwait decision context by a group of Kuwaiti pharmacists from a broad range of institutions. The participants agreed with the approach and considered it suitable to improve the transparency and consistency of decision making for off-patent pharmaceuticals in Kuwait. A pilot implementation project was proposed.
Keywords: Kuwait; MCDA; Multi-source pharmaceuticals; Pharmaceutical policy; Pharmaceutical purchasing; SMART; Simple multi attribute rating technique.