Developing health technology assessment in the European Union

Briefing 20-10-2016

Health Technology Assessment (HTA) is a research-based tool to support decision-making in healthcare. HTA assesses the added value of new health technologies – medicines, medical devices and diagnostic tools, surgical procedures as well as measures for disease prevention, diagnosis or treatment – over existing ones. HTA is used with a view to improving the quality and efficiency of public health interventions and the sustainability of healthcare systems. It has been growing in importance, given rising demand for healthcare and economic pressures. HTA in the EU involves multiple national and regional players. European HTA cooperation consists of a strategic level (HTA Network) and a scientific and technical level (EUnetHTA Joint Action). Efforts to advance certain aspects of voluntary cooperation on HTA are gaining momentum. Industry and non-industry stakeholders, as well as academia, generally agree on the benefit of stepping up EU cooperation on HTA. Members of the European Parliament have regularly asked for enhanced EU-level cooperation. The European Commission has recently published an inception impact assessment for an initiative on HTA, planned for the fourth quarter of 2017. It will be preceded by a public stakeholder consultation due to be launched in autumn 2016.