Health Technology Assessment Experts Hold Policy Dialogue at National Forum in Ukraine
On September 24, 2020 over 120 health care professionals in Ukraine gathered online for the 2nd National Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Forum led by the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, with support from the MSH-led, USAID Safe, Affordable, and Effective Medicines for Ukrainians (SAFEMed) Activity.
HTA, an evidence-based instrument to identify which medicines, medical devices, and treatment regimens are optimal for a state to support, is designed to serve as a key priority-setting tool for Ukraine’s health system. Globally, HTA is recognized as the preferred tool for reviewing health technologies and providing evidence for the value they can deliver to patients, the health system, and more broadly, to society.
In his opening remarks, Ben Zinner, USAID Ukraine Health Office Director, acknowledged HTA “as a crucial component of Ukraine’s health care reforms and as a tool to increase savings and maximize value of Ukraine’s health spending.”
The Forum provided an important platform for open and transparent dialogue among the many actors involved in translating HTA into policy and practice: the Ministry of Health and its agencies, doctors, pharmacists, health economists, patients’ organizations, pharmaceutical industry, and international organizations. According to Zinner, “We’ve already done so much together over the past several years and Ukraine now stands out as a leader in HTA.”
Recognizing the consensus to establish an independent HTA agency in Ukraine, Ihor Ivashchenko, Deputy Minister of Health of Ukraine, noted “the Ministry of Health of Ukraine is very satisfied with the work currently being done by the HTA Department at the State Expert Center, and I am confident that they have the capacity to fully transform into an independent agency.”
This Forum was preceded by the Health Technology Assessment International (HTAi) Regional Meeting, a virtual event hosted in Kyiv on September 8-11, 2020 with the theme “Integrating HTA into healthcare reforms in emerging settings.” More than 120 participants from 20 countries were involved in the event, which discussed current reforms taking place worldwide to advance universal health coverage, successful examples of supporting decision-making with HTA during healthcare reforms, the practical implementation of HTA in specific lines of decision-making, and managing the concerns and expectations of key stakeholders along the way.
Under USAID’s SAFEMed project, in early 2019 MSH helped launch the country’s first HTA unit to make healthcare recommendations to the Ministry of Health based on safety, clinical efficacy, and cost. Medicines and services now include those for noncommunicable diseases, such diabetes, as part of its publicly financed benefits package, granting access to high-quality drugs while saving Ukrainians some $28 million.
In October 2020, MSH, in partnership with the USAID Medicines, Technologies, and Pharmaceutical Services (MTaPS) Program, released “A Roadmap for Systematic Priority Setting and Health Technology Assessment (HTA),” a practical guide for countries looking to implement HTA in their own settings.