Health Technology Assessment
The international research-based pharmaceutical industry recognises the State’s need to ensure that it gets value for money for the large sums it is investing in the health services, including on medicines. The industry has shown its willingness to work in partnership in this regard, for example in its collaboration with the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics on the development of the Irish Healthcare Technology Assessment Guidelines.
A mechanism to assess value for money is welcome; however it should not result in bureaucratic delays or even worse patients being denied access to new medicines. It is vital that any reforms that are undertaken in the health services should both foster innovation and speed its application in all areas where there will be benefits to health outcomes.
Health Technology Assessments (HTA) should be conducted, as they have heretofore in Ireland:
- Separately from the regulatory process and, in accordance with, a clear, sophisticated and differentiated view of what constitutes value.
- In a transparent and balanced manner with early and inclusive dialogue, including with patients.
- Based on a comprehensive understanding of the benefits of medicines in disease management and taking account of indirect benefits.
- On the full range of healthcare interventions, not just medicines.
In the current cost-driven climate, there is a risk that evaluation mechanisms will run counter to what should be their key objectives: identifying medicines that bring the greatest benefit to patients, ensuring early access to these medicines, allowing choice among medicines of value and ensuring efficient healthcare through objective high-quality assessments.
You can access the website of the NCPE who carry out HTAs at NCPE