B9 - Health technology assessments and rapid access to medicines



Prof. Dyfrig Hughes (UK)


This topic covers how countries around the world made decisions related to the use of COVID-19 treatments and vaccines and the role that health technology assessment (HTA) played. It is important to understand how decisions were made by governments and healthcare systems regarding the use of COVID-19 treatments and diagnostics. Decisions to provide these treatments were made based on limited clinical efficacy evidence and meant that resources had to be diverted from other therapeutic areas to prioritise responding to the pandemic. An important approach, currently advocated by the World Health Organisation, is the use of HTA to inform decision making over the adoption of new technologies to ensure that healthcare systems get the best value for money. However, its use within the context of a pandemic has not been without challenges. This session will introduce the concept of HTA and explain how it can be used to maximise health gains. It also outlines the challenges faced by HTA agencies in conducting assessments of COVID-19 technologies and proposes recommendations and guidance for conducting these assessments.



14:00 – 14:10      Introduction by the chair 
14:10 – 14:35


HTA: the “What?”, “Why?” and “How?”
Mr Juan Carlos  Réjon-Parrilla, Andalusian Health Technology Assessment Unit (AETSA), Spain
14:35 – 15:00


Best-practice guidance for conducting HTA of COVID-19 technologies
Dr Dalia Dawoud, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, UK
15:00 – 15:20   Panel discussion and Q&A 
15:20 – 15:30


Conclusion by the chair 

Learning Objectives

  1. To define health technology assessment and list the steps involved in undertaking it
  2. To explain the importance of assessing the value of new technologies before adopting them on a health-system level
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