Strengthening HTA agencies in Asia: Learning and sharing experiences for the APO Policy Brief Meeting

APO Policy Brief Meeting

By Alia Luz, Health Intervention and Technology Assessment Program (HITAP)

With the introduction of the Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in Asian countries, priority-setting and HTA has become increasingly important.  However, only in the past decade has HTA been used to inform countries’ health programs and policies. As such, HTA agencies are relatively new in Asia.  In 2007, the Health Intervention and Technology Assessment Program (HITAP) was established in Thailand. Consecutively in 2008, a HTA division was established in Taiwan’s Center for Drug Evaluation (CDE) and the National Evidence-based healthcare Collaborating Agency (NECA) was founded in Korea.

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Combating the global increase of chronic diseases with effective policies: International Forum on Peritoneal Dialysis (PD) as a Priority Health Topic in Asia

By: Alia Luz, Health Intervention and Technology Assessment Program (HITAP)

In 2007, there were an estimated 58 million deaths worldwide and, according to the WHO, more than half (35 million) were caused by chronic diseases. Another study estimates that deaths caused by chronic diseases will rise to 50 million in 2020. The economic burden of these diseases is enormous. By 2015, an estimated reduction of 5% on GDP will be due to funds channeled into healthcare spending on just two of these diseases – diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Studies show that low- and middle-income countries, elderly patients, and those coming from lower income brackets bear the brunt of the increasing risk and economic burden of these diseases. Despite this, chronic kidney disease (CKD) is generally not included in the list of priorities for governments and international donors. And with governments around the world committing to Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for their citizens, priority-setting for treatments of chronic diseases – and CKD – is a must.
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An American pre-medical student explores Universal Health Coverage…

This is a guest post by Moriah Pollock-Hawthorne, Haverford University.

I was an intern at NICE International and an American university student with aspirations to become a doctor. In an effort to learn about universal health coverage and experience a single-payer healthcare system in action, I came to England; I shadowed doctors in NHS clinics, sat in on technology appraisal meetings where I discovered NICE’s role in ensuring affordability and standards of care for medicine in the NHS, and then had a brief internship in which I learned how NICE International applies the experience of NICE and the NHS to help other countries develop principles, priorities, and guidelines as these countries begin to create or expand their own healthcare systems. Continue reading

Why do (and should) we do economic evaluation?

Every healthcare system in the world has to set priorities and make choices. Economic evaluation, in the context of health technology assessment, provides the decision makers with a framework for assessing the costs and benefits of various competing options, to inform fair and efficient use of limited healthcare resources. Prof Tony Culyer explains in this presentation: Why do we do economic evaluation?

Prof Culyer is the Chair of the iDSI Steering Group; Chair in Economics at University of York; Ontario Research Chair in Health Policy and System Design at University of Toronto; and founding Vice Chair of NICE.

The Power of HTA: an animation

In health systems, although there are many stakeholders with different interests (healthcare practitioners, policymakers, industry, patients and the public), many share the value of better health for all. However, when a decision needs to be made, it is not easy for them to agree or talk together constructively. Will there be any way to help them talk together constructively and to make the best use of the limited healthcare resources? See this short animation produced by HITAP.

A potential indicator for measuring the success of HTA development

Nattha Tritasavit and Chalarntorn Yothasamutra


One day I was perusing the news and came across an article about the inclusion of five new high-cost drugs in the Thai benefits package. Unbeknownst to me, the Thai Universal Health Coverage (UHC) released a news article in all domestic newspapers informing the public that the Director-General of the National Health Security Office (NHSO), which manages UHC, claimed that the decision to include the high-cost drugs by the NHSO board was made based on evidence supported by an HTA agency. This was regardless of the fact that there is no law in place mandating the use of evidence to inform policy in Thailand. We write about this event not to proclaim the success of an HTA agency in a low- and middle-income country, but to share our view regarding a possible indicator for measuring HTA impact.

Developing HTA systems in low- and middle income countries, one of the aims of the iDSI, is regarded as one of the most challenging tasks. Establishing HTA in any setting does not only include completing HTA reports and training local staff to conduct HTA, but it also means institutionalizing HTA and creating social capital from it. This case illustrates the impact of making HTA attractive enough for decision makers to use it willingly as a defense for their decisions to the public.

Note: the evidence generated for one of the high-cost drugs was conducted in collaboration with Silapakorn University and Ramathibodi Hospital.

See more research about HTA project at

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Finding the true north of evidence-based policy development

Finding the true north of evidence-based policy development

By: Yot Teerawattananon and Nattha Tritasavit

Finding true north is important for accurate navigation to embarking on the right path. While there may be many paths to making policy decisions, the ultimate goal is to end up with a decision that has been well-informed by evidence. Evidenced-based policy decisions result in more transparent and effective outcomes that are defendable to the public. A case in point is the expansion of antiretroviral treatment (ART) for HIV/AIDS in Thailand. Continue reading