Economic evaluations in health technology assessments: what more can be done?


Author: Mayvis Rebeira, Ph.D.

Health technology assessments (HTAs) are increasingly used to inform decisions by public and private payers regarding funding for new health technologies that includes drugs and medical devices. HTAs involve reviews of clinical evidence on the effectiveness of the health technologies and economic evidence on the value-for-money. It may also include other considerations such as severity of disease, unmet need, patient values, implementation and ethical considerations. The economic methods and concepts used to conduct HTAs have evolved significantly at the global level creating some divergence with Canadian approaches. The objective of this paper is to provide an overview of economic evaluation and identify some key limitations of current economic evaluation methods used in HTAs in Canada, to generate discussions on these issues and to propose options to improve economic evaluations methods of health technologies.