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On the 5thof June, we attended “What future for EU cooperation on HTA?” organised by the European Parliament Interest Group on Access to HealthCare, in cooperation with the Patient Access Partnership (PACT) of what we are partners.

At the moment, Health Technology Assessment (HTA) is carried out across Europe through different national processes and methodologies. This variety implies that the same medical devices are assessed leading to different results, not to mention the duplication of work and waste of resources in Europe. For these reasons, the European Commission has put forward a regulation proposal on HTA, to strengthen EU cooperation in the field of HTA.

The European Parliament and the patients’ community want stronger cooperation

According to Anna-Eva Ampelas, from DG SANTE, the positive effects that cooperation on HTA can have for the Member States are numerous: high quality reports, pooling of expertise, specialisation of HTA bodies, better allocation of resources, savings in the long term, and therefore, support the sustainability and quality of healthcare systems. Moreover, transparency would be increased through standardised methods on HTA, and access to new innovative technologies will be faster for patients. Mrs. Soledad Cabezón Ruiz, ENVI Rapporteur of the European Parliament’s report on the pro­posed HTA Regulation, underlined the useful involvement of patients, consumers, experts, professionals and health NGOs in the HTA process. Patient representatives Kaisa Immonen, from the European Patients’ Forum, and François Houÿez, form EURORDIS, emphasised the importance of the involvement of the patient community in a systematic and mandatory way to ensure that HTAs are conducted in the interests of patients.

Some Member States see HTA cooperation as an intrusion to their competencies

After 28 years of voluntary cooperation, the Commission proposal is the next logical step. If this new regulation can be viewed as a key tool for stimulating innovation and support the sustainability of healthcare systems, its mandatory nature regarding joint clinical assessments is not welcomed by all Member States. In this context, Professor Ilko Getov from the Bulgarian Ministry of Health HTA Committee, and Philipp Tillich from the Permanent Representation of Austria highlighted that one of the main issues is the fact that the proposal indirectly touches on the core competences of the Member States such as pricing and reimbursement decisions as well as aspects like the benefits to patients, industry involvement and industry delegating powers. In any case, the Commission expressed its intention to continue dialogue if the Council rejects the Regulation, stimulating the discussion while taking a flexible approach.

For more detailed information on what was discussed during the event, find here the report and the PACT website.

Find here our HTA Position Paper.