Health technology assessment (HTA) organizations play a crucial role in optimizing healthcare resources, but the factors influencing decision making vary by country.
HTAs of cancer and hepatitis C drugs were evaluated across developed countries to understand differences in decision processes and criteria.
The HTA organizations evaluated are from France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom (UK), Australia, Canada and Japan. Economic evaluation types and 28 factors in the following categories were evaluated: clinical uncertainties/issues; disease/population/treatment consideration factors including National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s (NICE) special circumstances factors (e.g. end-of-life and innovation); and International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) additional value elements. Qualitative and correspondence analyses were conducted to assess the differences across organizations.
Incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) using quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) was evaluated in Canada, the UK, Australia and Japan. The highest observed clinical uncertainties were clinical benefits and comparator. For cancer drugs, correspondence analysis showed France, Australia, Canada and the UK to have common attributes observed, such as unmet needs and stakeholder persuasion. In addition, the UK reported end-of-life, issues around current treatment and innovation, whereas Germany reported manageable/insignificant adverse events more frequently. Finally, fear of contagion, equity and scientific spillover value elements were only observed in Australia.
Although clinical factors play a predominant role in the decision to reimburse medicine, HTA organizations consider additional aspects as well. If the methodology of HTA was clearly outlined, there would be more transparency in HTA systems leading to better understanding amongst stakeholders about decision making.

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