Pharmaceutical News
2015 the 4th HTAsiaLink Annual Conference in Taipei

The 4th HTAsiaLink Annual Conference took place from the 13th to the 15th in Taipei.  156 experts and members of the Association from 14 countries and 42 organizations attended this event.  This 3-day conference consisted of 4 Leaders Forums, 2 speeches on HTA regional cooperation, 2 speeches on HTA international cooperation and 50 presentations.  The conference aimed to spark interests in HTA-related discussions and researches. 

The HTAsiaLink held its annual conferences in Thailand, Malaysia and China in 2012, 2013 and 2014.  This year, the annual conference was held in Taiwan.

This year’s event is organized by the CDE in Taiwan.  For the first time, “Leaders Forum” was included in this year’s agenda.  The CDE invited Dr. Hsu Ming-Neng (Deputy Minister of the MOHW in Taiwan), Dr. Suriya Wongkongkathep (Deputy Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Public Health in Thailand), Dr. Seulki Kang (Deputy Director, Division of Healthcare Resources Policy, Ministry of Health and Welfare in South Korea) and Mr.Tono Rustiano (Director of Planning and Development, BPJS in Indonesia) to give insightful analyses of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in their countries.  

“Pre-sessional course” is another new feature of this year’s annual conference.  The pre-sessional course kicked off on the 12th.  The organizer invited Prof. Olivia Wu from Glasgow University and Prof. Jeffrey Hoch from University of Toronto to talk about “Systematic Review & Meta-Analysis” and “Economic Evaluation”.  Other experts in Asian countries were also invited to share their practical experiences in HTA.

Facing the advance in health technology and the public’s increasing demand for healthcare services, the governments all over the world are desperate to improve their budget efficiency.  HTA is a major tool which helps the governments to make cost-effective decisions on health spending.  HTA can be used to improve new drug listing, public health programmes (free vaccination, cancer screening, etc.), priority setting in healthcare, cost-benefit analyses, etc.  It helps governments to establish the value of drugs and/or medical technology. 

In Taiwan, the CDE established the HTA committee in 2008.  Also in 2008, the CDE invited HTA experts from Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Canada and other European countries to meet in Taiwan and to share their experiences.  This event planted the seed of a cross-Asia HTA organization.  The HTAsiaLink was established ad held its first annual conference in 2012 in Thailand. 

HTA has become a worldwide trend.  In 2007, the WHA expressed its concerns over the waste of resources in inappropriate investment in health technology.  The WHA urged its member states to work with HTA reviewers and establish a systematic HTA review plan suitable for their countries.

The constant introduction of new drugs and new medical equipment has placed a heavy financial burden on the governments and has affected the sustainability of healthcare. 

The WHA suggested providing guidance for member states on budget allocation, decision-making, priority setting in healthcare and cost-benefit analyses.  The purpose is to strengthen the financial structure of healthcare systems so as to achieve the Universal Healthcare Coverage.  

In Taiwan, the CDE has been responsible for producing HTA reports to support the NHIA’s new drug listing decisions since 2007.  From 2011, medical devices are also subject to HTA review. 

The HTA review has been further extended to innovative healthcare services since 2014.  So far, it has been used to evaluate the demand for proton therapy equipment, the cost-benefit assessment of AIDS treatments and quadrivalent IIV4 vaccines, the assessment of changing the API of Tamiflu, the addition of fluorine in drinking water, the supplement of iron or vitamin D in breast milk, etc.   It is foreseeable that the application of HTA will be widespread in the future.

【2015-05-18/ XKB News】