Prague, Czech Republic – Many Central & Eastern European (CEE) countries have recently introduced mandatory health economic (HE) evaluations to grant reimbursements for medical technologies. Health economic requirements in the CEE countries are often aligned to Western European standards, mainly the United Kingdom.

High quality evaluations can be made only if relevant data are available, therefore, researchers from the 1st Medical Faculty, Charles University in Prague, the University of Gent in Belgium, and Pfizer Czech Republic compared HE processes across Europe.

As detailed in the study, “Health Economic Data Requirements and Availability in the European Union: Results of a Survey Among 10 European Countries,” the researchers administered a survey, using a common questionnaire, among five CEE countries (Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania) and five Western European countries (UK, France, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden) with the aim of comparing data requirements and their availability for HE evaluations.

The results showed that all of the assessed CEE countries require HE assessments for innovative drugs. There is a clear alignment to UK guidelines, mainly in the type of the analysis, i.e., cost-utility analysis presenting a cost per QALY incremental cost-effectiveness ratio, and a health care study perspective. Two of the CEE countries apply an explicit willingness-to-pay threshold, which is based on multiples of the average monthly wage (Slovakia) or GDP per capita levels (Poland). If medical interventions exceed these limits, permanent reimbursement is usually not granted. 

As a result of the study, the researchers suggest that one of the significant differences found in the survey is related to data availability. Access to data seems to be easier in Western Europe compared to CEE countries, although areas for improvement were found across the whole EU. Epidemiological data in the CEE countries is published with delay and health insurance funds do not present sufficient information for HE evaluations. Registries (with several exceptions as the Czech National Oncology Registry) are either not available or not easy to access. One of the reasons for lack of data availability lay in the little efforts undertaken by the CEE governments to establish and maintain registries for real-life data.

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