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Patient Ambassador attends Brussels meeting on HTA

Dominique Hamerlijnk, who was one of our first patient ambassadors, attended a European meeting on stakeholder involvement in Health Technology Assessment (HTA) in Brussels. The meeting was organised by DG Santé – the Directorate General for Health and Food Safety of the European Commission. Here is Dominque’s report:

On Tuesday, 27 September representatives of patient’s and consumers’ organisations were invited for a meeting on involvement in the new development in HTA in Europe in the coming years.

We were welcomed by Flora Giorgia, the head of the Health Technology Assessment team from DG Santé and Karolina Hanslik (EU health policy advisor). Wim Goettsch, the director of EUnetHTA JA3 also gave a presentation.

In the coming years DG Santé will be working on increasing stakeholder involvement in HTA. They differentiate between 6 stakeholder groups:

• regulators,
• patients and consumers,
• providers,
• payers,
• technology producers,
• research and academia.

DG Santé was interested in hearing how the involvement of patients and consumers could be improved, where we are now and what the future could look like.

There are 2 levels at which patients can become involved in HTA at the EU level:
1. HTA Network: the strategic and policy level
2. EUnetHTA: scientific and operational level.

With the meeting SANTÉ wants to promote reflection on papers (ideas) and synergies between regulatory and HTA issues: they want to facilitate patients’ access to technologies with added therapeutic value and contribute to sustainable health care and foster innovations. We as patients can become an integral part of this process.

In health stakeholders are seldom involved in technology assessments, while in other areas of technology assessment stakeholder involvement is usual. This is the time we can influence how and when patients are involved in HTA. We need to make sure that patients are involved in every HTA done in an EU country or in cooperation between EU countries and we need to know how the patient involvement in HTA will be facilitated.

HTA is seen as an important tool to contribute to a sustainable healthcare, patient access to innovation and to support innovation in health care in the EU countries. HTA will become part of more equality between the EU countries and patients can become part of the process now and in the future. What form this cooperation will take will be discussed in the coming years.

A HTA Network Stakeholder Forum will be set up as a means of creating a new mechanism to facilitate stakeholder involvement. This forum will contribute to the policy development related to HTA in the EU. Four groups of stakeholders will be represented in this forum:

• patients/consumers,
• healthcare providers,
• payers,
• industry.

It will be open to EU umbrella organisations that are registered in the transparency registers. Members of the umbrella organisations can come to the meetings. You have to have a demonstrated interest in HTA related activities. There is a public consultation (closing early 2017) that will be open for 4 to 6 weeks.

This is the opportunity for patients to be involved in all HTAs. 

Click here to read more about the EU HTA public consultation.