OHE’s Annual Report to the Charity Commission 2017

Article by: Adrian Towse and Mike Drummond

OHE has published its report to the Charity Commission for England and Wales, its first since becoming a registered charity in December 2016. OHE’s charitable status represents an important watershed in OHE’s evolution as a health economics research organisation. It reflects the hard work of the entire OHE team, including OHE’s senior leadership, advisory committees and Board of Trustees to OHE’s mission to support better health care policies by providing insightful economic and statistical analyses.

OHE is the world’s oldest health economics research unit. It was established in 1962, pre-dating the publication of Kenneth Arrow’s seminal paper on uncertainty and the welfare economics of medical care in 1963, which is generally associated with the beginnings of health economics as a sub-discipline of economics. OHE is also distinctive, among UK health economics research organisations, in combining expertise on topics within the usual terrain of British health economics, with the theory and methods of industrial economics. This enables OHE to provide distinctive analysis and policy insights into the interaction between the issues of health systems and the economics of health care technology, innovation and dynamic efficiency. In this report, we provide an overview of OHE’s principal activities, achievements and performance in 2017, our first year as a registered charity. The body of work described here illustrates OHE’s remarkable transition.

When it was established in 1962 OHE was wholly funded by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI). It commissioned and undertook largely descriptive analyses of health care policy issues from an economics perspective, with a principal focus on the UK, publishing these in-house via a monograph series. All of these publications are available on the OHE website. The OHE team now undertakes original theoretical and empirical analysis, with demonstrable impacts for policy and decision making. OHE also conducts innovative methodological work in health economics that has impacts on the way other health economists conduct research. Much of OHE’s work is published in peer-reviewed journals. And OHE’s research is now truly international, with projects underway in multiple countries, and the issues we address are often global in nature. The financial support we receive from ABPI remains important to OHE’s research programme, but is now supplemented by income from public sector, not-for-profit, and for-profit organisations in the UK, the rest of Europe, and North America. This report, in our judgment, demonstrates some of the ways in which OHE has met its charitable objects: namely, to advance the education of the public in general/health care payers/policy makers on the subject of health economics and health care policy. The importance of health economics to evidence-based health policy and health care management ensures that there is an important role for OHE’s work. We are confident that OHE will continue to grow in stature, reputation and impact.

The full report can be accessed here.

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