Legislation in the EU provides incentives for the developmeng of drugs for rare diseases, known as orphan medicinal products (OMPs). At a recent conference, OHE's Dr Mestre-Ferrandiz reported on OHE research that examines the impact of these measures as well as whether and how pricing and reimbursement policies affect access in practice.

Research spillovers exist when research by one organisation creates increased output for other organisations that operate in the same or other sector of the economy. Given current constraints on public, charitable and private research funding, enhancing spillovers may become an important objective in UK science and technology policy. OHE recently collaborated with RAND Europe in a high-level conference that identified priorities for science policy research that can help improve the ability to take advantage of such synergies in the UK.

Antimicrobial resistance to drugs is a growing global public health issue. The EU began a discussion in 2009 about which policies can best encourage the development of new antibiotics. New OHE research uses an economic model to indentify which incentives for innovation are likely to be most successful.

Earlier this month, the first set of data on post operative patient reported outcomes (PROMs) was published by the Department of Health (DH). For the first time, this has provided a patient-based assessment of changes in patients’ health related quality of life following hip replacement. The data also cover surgery on knees, varicose veins and groin hernias.

Obesity is an increasing challenge in England, as elsewhere. OHE has completed a study that examines PCT practice and the cost savings that could accrue if NICE guidance was followed more closely.