That much became clear during a Related Meeting of the EULAR Congress 2021 this month, where the European Alliance for Patient Access assembled RMD patient associations from across Europe. The groups expressed their commitment to having their voices heard during health technology assessments, where national decision-makers gauge a new medication’s value.
The conversation stemmed from a December 2020 policy report, Patient Engagement in Health Technology Assessment, which revealed that patients sometimes lack a meaningful role in these processes.
With views presented by patient advocates from Italy and the UK, as well as a pan-European perspective from EUnetHTA, the dialogue made one point clear. Patient organisations have encountered a number of barriers to getting their voice heard during health technology assessments.
Barriers to Patient Engagement with HTA
Barriers to effective patient organisation participation included:
Patient advocacy groups are, however, intent on improving the situation. And they have ideas on how these issues could and should be addressed.
Looking for Solutions
Potential solutions include:
The conversation also touched on how to make patients and patient organisations’ contributions more meaningful. This could involve including patients on committees within the health technology assessment organisations or granting them voting rights. Patient groups could also benefit from a statement, at the outset, of how health technology assessment organisations plan to use patient input – as well as a report afterward accounting for how they followed through.
Patient organisations are playing their part in seeking to improve health technology assessments. Now it is time for those seeking this expertise to make input more feasible – and more meaningful.