At the end of October, the European Commission started a public consultation on Health Technology Assessment (HTA). This focuses mainly on how the individual bodies responsible for these assessments, as well as other stakeholders in the health sector, can work together more effectively in the area of HTA.

MS – 11/2016

“Health Technology” is a term that covers a range of products and practices. It includes not only traditional pharmaceuticals and medical devices but also medical and surgical procedures, as well as other methods of prevention and diagnosis. The “assessment” itself refers to whether there is added value from using a new medical technology compared to what is currently available. An HTA collects all information regarding the medical, economic, social and ethical aspects of a technology. In most countries, this assessment is ultimately used for price negotiations with manufacturers and for reimbursements as part of health insurance. The aim of an HTA is to assist decision makers at national level in their efforts to ensure that patients are provided with the best possible healthcare treatment and products, while at the same time better regulating healthcare costs.  

For some time now, there have been discussions at European level whether such assessments should be carried out individually in each EU country based on their national legislation or whether it would be more efficient to conduct them from a central location. In principle, there are more than 28 different procedures within the EU and thus, very different assessment criteria. There are also discussions regarding possibilities for obligatory or voluntary cooperation between authorities, health insurance providers and industry.  

The Commission hopes that the consultation will provide an in-depth look into different opinions of HTA. An Initiative (legislative or non-legislative) is planned for the fourth quarter of 2017 which includes an Impact Assessment. The aim of the Initiative is to assist with the Commission’s goal of strengthening cooperation. The health insurance funds and social insurance institutions (as well as their associations) are involved in the consultation; they will provide their assessment as well as participate in discussions.  


According to the timetable set by the Commission, responses can be submitted until 13 January 2017 at the following link: