This article was originally posted on our sister blog Global Policy Watch
Health technology assessment (“HTA”) is a multidisciplinary assessment process that seeks to evaluate the added therapeutic value of health technologies (i.e., drugs, certain medical devices, medical treatments including surgical procedures, and measures for disease prevention and diagnosis) based on both clinical and non-clinical elements. Until now, HTA has strictly fallen in the purview of EU Member States; they have cooperated among themselves in this field for more than 20 years on a purely voluntary basis. This has led to initiatives such as EUnetHTA, which is a network of national HTA bodies, and its various Joint Actions. Article 15 of the Cross-Border Healthcare Directive (Directive 2011/24) also provides for that national bodies responsible for HTA should cooperate on a voluntary basis. Gradually, these various actions have developed common criteria for the performance of HTA at national level. For example, the last “Joint Action 3” of EUnetHTA seeks to define common assessment methodologies, develop common ICT tools, and conduct and produce joint clinical assessments and HTA reports.
EU Member States have acknowledged the significant role that HTA plays and called on the European Commission to continue to support such initiatives (see, e.g., Council conclusions of December 6, 2014, on innovation for the benefit of patients). However, in a resolution of March 2, 2017, the European Parliament went a step further and called on the Commission to propose legislation on health technology assessment at the EU level to provide transparent and harmonized criteria to evaluate the added therapeutic value of drugs and other health technologies. Continue Reading