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New Study on HTA Processes Highlights Areas for Improvement to Accelerate Patients’ Access to Innovative Medicines


13 Jul 2011


Health & Consumers

A new report on Health Technology Assessment (HTA) processes published today highlights significant areas for improvement in order to accelerate patients’ access to new technologies and innovative medicines, and to make the most of tight public budgets. The study, jointly commissioned by EFPIA, EuropaBio, Medicines Australia and PhRMA, compares the HTA processes and outputs against best practice principles.

In particular the report shows that the link between assessments and access decisions could be improved. One of the crucial roles of HTA is to improve access to innovative treatments and medicines.  However, the report found little evidence that current HTA processes make a difference in terms of speeding up access to medicines for patients or that HTA resulted in better rewards for medicines with higher therapeutic value. Recommendations from HTA bodies are not always implemented by pricing and reimbursement authorities, and the overall link between HTA and pricing and reimbursement is still unclear in many cases. Recommendations on the same products also vary greatly between systems and countries. While individual HTA bodies may have different remits and objectives, the variation in how the same products are evaluated suggests inefficiencies and inconsistencies linked with diverging methodologies and data requirements.

The report also shows that many systems could improve their performance towards a holistic approach to assessments. Looking at the full healthcare system and associated costs for society would be more beneficial in terms of efficient allocation of resources. Even though HTA has the potential to assist patients and health practitioners in making informed decisions, in practice, societal aspects are not well taken into account and patients have a limited role in several HTA systems. The report also shows that HTA is mostly applied to pharmaceuticals, and that methods applied to other technologies are less stringent.

However, the report suggests that there are reasons to be optimistic, given that most HTA systems are still in development or are evolving. The report sets the foundation for a regular exercise, which will receive continuous support from the four trade associations. Such regular exercise has the potential to allow consistent assessments of the impact of HTA to be efficiently captured over time, taking into account the impact of current reforms and cross-border activities on access to innovative medicines and the move towards truly patient-centred healthcare systems.


If you require further information or for quotes from the other signatories, please contact:

EuropaBio: Ludovic Lacaine, Director, Healthcare Biotechnology, +32 2739 1183/+32 2739 1173, /

EFPIA: Edith Frénoy, Director, Market Access, +32 2 62 62 555,

Medicines Australia: Brendan Shaw, Chief Executive, Medicines Australia, +61 2 6122 8500,

PhRMA: Mark Grayson, Deputy Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs, +1202-835-3465,

Notes to the editor:

About the report:

Charles River Associates was asked by EFPIA, PhRMA, Medicines Australia and EuropaBio to undertake a comparative assessment of the role and impact of Health Technology Assessment (HTA) in different parts of the world. The objective of the project was to build upon, rather than replicate, the various published studies that have compared HTA systems in order to develop the lessons that can be drawn from different national models in the world. The project started with a literature review of existing frameworks for comparison of the use of HTA focusing on its role and impact (rather than the merits of particular methodologies). The assessment focused on 15 countries representative of the diversity of HTA practices, and with a mix of long-established and emerging HTA systems.

To view the report & the full list of countries analysed, please click here:

To view a summary of the report and key messages, please click here:

About Health Technology Assessment (HTA):

The International Network of Agencies for HTA (INAHTA) defines HTA as a multidisciplinary field of policy analysis, which incorporates the medical, social, ethical and economic implications of development, diffusion, and use of health technology. HTA is therefore a ‘melting pot’ of the different disciplines needed to assess the benefits of a given medicine, and in some cases, also the costs. HTA experts may include epidemiologists, economists, physicians, pharmacists, and health care managers, among other professionals. HTA is therefore conducted by multidisciplinary groups, using a range of analytical frameworks drawing from a variety of analytical methods. In practice HTA has come to mean a wide range of processes and assessments. For the purposes of this project Charles River Associates used a wide definition of HTA including any process that systematically reviews new technologies in order to provide payers with information to make decisions.

~About EuropaBio~

EuropaBio's mission is to promote an innovative and dynamic biotechnology based industry in Europe. EuropaBio, (the European Association for Bioindustries), has 62 corporate and 7 associate members operating worldwide, 4 Bioregions and 19  national biotechnology associations representing some 1800 small and medium sized enterprises.

~About EFPIA~

EFPIA represents the pharmaceutical industry operating in Europe. Through its direct membership of 30 national associations and 40 leading pharmaceutical companies, EFPIA is the voice on the EU scene of 2,200 companies committed to researching, developing and bringing to patients new medicines that improve health and the quality of life around the world.

~About Medicines Australia~

Medicines Australia represents the discovery-driven pharmaceutical industry in Australia. Our 50+ member companies supply more than 80 per cent of the medicines that are available to Australian patients through the HTA-based Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, as well as providing a range of other medicines and vaccines to the Australian community. Medicines Australia’s members also invest more than $1 billion annually in local research and development, contribute over $4 billion in high-tech exports to the Australian economy, and employ over 14,000 people. 

~About PhRMA~

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies in the United States, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $49.4 billion in 2010 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $67.4 billion in 2010.


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