First off, let’s start with some background. The first question that comes to mind would be: “What is the EUnetHTA Joint Action 2?” Briefly put, EUnetHTA, the European Network of Health Technology Assessment, is a joint initiative of the European Commission and the relevant agencies in the Member States, aiming to strengthen cross-border HTA collaboration.
Though traditionally applied mainly to pharmaceuticals, HTA is becoming ever more important when taking reimbursement decisions for other health products and services, such as medical devices and diagnostics, too. Given that the medical technology industry has the technological expertise and moreover a long-standing experience in producing vast amounts of data, we have shown in the past that we can deliver evidence that can be used in HTA across Europe to assess the long term safety and value of various technologies in daily life – especially for high risk and implantable devices, and diagnostics. In addition, our clinical engineering teams are in close contact with clinical professionals and patients. This close interaction ensures continuous development to further improve the therapeutic benefit and address the limitations of existing products. In our view, this is why it is crucial that industry and other stakeholders actively contribute to this Joint Action as well as to the future creation of a permanent European HTA network.
Then there is the topic of involvement in the governance structure of EUnetHTA. Here too, we see great value in including stakeholders such as industry, while encouraging them to participate in all stages of the HTA process to ensure a fully informed decision. Of course, this does not in any way infringe upon the final independent decision-making process. If you would like to know more about why we feel so strongly about industry involvement, then definitely read our Joint Healthcare Industry Paper “The Value of Industry Involvement in HTA” published last year.
So how does this all link up to our Contract for a Healthy Future, Industry’s 5-Year Strategy? In short, our industry is committed to providing the radical change in which healthcare is being delivered – a change which has already begun – by delivering value-based innovations. We are eager to work with healthcare decision making as partners of Joint Action 2 in addressing all relevant information needed for the assessment of in vitro diagnostics and medical devices (such as the learning curve of the user, the doctor’s treatment decision and behavioural changes in the patients). We are confident that if correctly carried out, HTA is a useful tool to encourage and reward innovation with the greatest value to patients and society. That is why we are committed to provide our expertise, invest time and resources and look forward to our involvement in EUnetHTA Joint Action 2.
– Yves Verboven, Senior manager Economic Affairs, Eucomed
– Vanessa Pott, Senior Public Affairs Officer, EDMA