Health Technology Assessment
Health technology assessment (HTA) is a multidisciplinary process that summarises information about the medical, social, economic and ethical issues related to the use of a health technology in a systematic, transparent, unbiased, robust manner. Its aim is to inform the formulation of safe, effective, health policies that are patient-focused and seek to achieve best value (1). The HTA research group in the Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics is closely affiliated with the National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics (NCPE). The NCPE conducts HTAs of drugs to inform evidence-based decision-making on the reimbursement of drugs in Ireland. This is done through the evaluation of the comparative and cost effectiveness of drugs and the provision of advice and recommendations to the Health Service Executive (HSE). HTA requires an in-depth understanding of the strengths, weaknesses and potential biases of research processes. The NCPE in collaboration with the Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics run a PhD programme which aligns practical training in HTA with specific research projects which have a direct impact on national policy and decisions. A multidisciplinary team of HTA assessors and researchers in the Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics are involved in a range of research projects aimed at addressing gaps in the evidence required to make an informed reimbursement decision, and also the continuous development of HTA methods and standard to underpin the HTA process in Ireland. Research themes include Economic Evaluations, Cost of Illness, Drug utilisation, Real World Outcomes, Systematic Reviews and Evidence Syntheses, and Health-related Quality of Life. Long-term research collaborations are in place with the RCSI and UCC. The NCPE also has close collaborative links with international health economic academic centres. The NCPE is a member of the Pharmaceutical Pricing and Reimbursement Information (PPRI) Network and contributes to international organisations including European Network for Health-Technology Assessment (EUnetHTA) , INAHTA and ISPOR.