Health Technology Assessment

In October 2009, the OHE published research that compared access to orphan medicinal products (OMPs) in selected European countries. At the request of the UK Orphan Medicines Industry Group [1], OHE recently updated to May 2011 some of the data included in that research.

To date, the UK Government has not been specific about how VBP will be implemented, but has indicated that calculations of value will extend beyond the QALY approach currently used by NICE. The Department of Health has stated that it will include “the range of factors through which medicines deliver benefits for patients and society”.

At the Spanish Health Economics Association (AES) conference in May 2011, OHE’s Ruth Puig Peiró discussed a recent OHE study that reviewed the available literature on variations in medicines’ efficacy and effectiveness across countries.

OHE is making available as Occasional Papers drafts of two important chapters that will appear in the Oxford Handbook on the Economics of the Pharmaceutical Industry due out in 2012. One on access to drugs and vaccines in developing countries and the other on measuring value with pharmacoeconomics.

The 2011 OHE Annual Lecture -- Cost per QALY in the U.S. and Britain: Damned if You Do and Damned if You Don't? -- will be presented by Prof Milton Weinstein of Harvard University on 15 November 2011 in London. He will examine the differences in the US and British perspectives and argue for a convergence that combines the two approaches.

In forthcoming chapter in the Oxford Handbook on the Economics of the Biopharmaceutical Industry, experts in the field outline the evolution of cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) through its use as part of health technology assessment. The authors also explore the theoretical and practical issues that have arisen as the result of using CEA of drugs to make decisions about resource allocation, pricing and use and offer some important recommendations.

Just released is an OHE Research Paper that examines whether and how decisions about allocating resources for health care differ across the NHS and, particularly, in comparison to decisions by NICE. If important differences exist, the efficiency of resources allocation may be affected negatively.

This OHE publication is intended to inform and stimulate debate about the way different sorts of evidence and considerations are taken into account in decisions about new health care technologies. The authors argue for greater use of multiple criteria decision analysis (MCDA) as an aid to decision-making that is based on health technology assessment.

Spending by Spain’s National Health Service (NHS) on pharmaceuticals was €12.1 billion in 2010. Its market for prescription medicines is among the slowest growing in Europe, expanding by only 1% for the 12 months to September 2010 - half of the average of 2% for the five largest European markets.

OHE was awarded a UK Department of Health grant to further develop three aspects of health status indexes. Results of the second of these, advances in Time Trade Off methodology, are reported in this post.

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