HTA in Europe beyond 2020

Today's post is written by ‎John Ricketts, Director, European Government Affairs, Policy & Public Affairs at Eli Lilly.

Health technology assessment (HTA) is centre-stage at this week’s LSE Summit. The programme is jam packed with high-level speakers who are set to rethink regulation on HTA in an effort to create more synergies and avoid duplication of work amongst national bodies. The potential win at EU level is to focus on relative efficacy (meaning does the new medical technology or medicine work), leaving national authorities to focus on the potential of the new technology within their own healthcare systems and health priorities in terms of relative effectiveness and cost effectiveness.

The event comes hot on the heels of last week’s kick-off meeting of the new joint action for a European HTA (EUnetHTA Joint Action 3) in Amsterdam. In the upcoming months, EUnetHTA JA3 is poised to start its activities under the coordination of the Dutch National Healthcare Institute – Zorginstituut Nederland (ZIN). While building on the progress made so far, JA3 is also set to shift gears by focusing on operational implementation in the lead up to a permanent structure.  On the menu for the LSE congress are a wide range of questions that are essential to the process: how to promote closer collaboration on HTA, how to build trust in the quality of the process and how to break down barriers to encourage national uptake and adaptation of joint work. While the questions may seem oriented to a techy audience, the answer is simple. In fact, it can even be summarized in less than 140 characters: 



Over the years, national HTA has become an important tool to assist payers to make informed decisions on how to best allocate resources in their health system. However, the objectives for HTAs in Europe vary significantly between EU member states. The overall picture is still a jigsaw puzzle, with a few pieces missing from the set and a number of duplicates. 

There are over 50 HTA agencies in Europe, including national and even regional bodies, applying different methodologies and producing different outputs. As pointed out by the European Commission, fragmentation is very high, and separate relative efficacy assessments mean duplication of work. The proof will be in the pudding for the success of the EU permanent network. Ultimately, it will depend on the efficiencies gained from the national uptake of joint assessments and the involvement of patients at the heart of the process. If designed correctly, EU collaboration on HTA could ultimately ensure timely and equal access to health technologies for patients in need. Beyond 2020, a permanent HTA network could help encourage stakeholders to engage in early dialogue, share information to reduce duplication of work, whilst still leaving room for decisions to be tailored to answer local needs. The value in the project was echoed by Health Commissioner Andriukaitis, who stressed it was ‘crystal clear that we need to have a permanent HTA network in Europe’ to deliver value to patients across all 28 EU Member States.

 We’ll be watching online via #LSEmedtech as the conversation unfolds at the LSE Summit, so stay tuned.