In 1989, Poland started to slowly release itself not only from the burden of a half-century of communist indoctrination and soviet exploitation, but also from the consequences of the Semashko model of healthcare organization: low doctors' salaries, primary care based on multispecialty groups, overdeveloped hospital infrastructure, and limited access to sophisticated interventions overcome by patients' unofficial payments.
A few years after the 1998 workshop on health technology assessment (HTA) in Budapest, the first HTA reports were elaborated in the National Center for Quality Assessment in Health Care, which could mark the beginning of HTA in Poland. Several individuals and organizations have been involved in developing HTA, both from noncommercial and commercial standpoints.
A goal to establish a national HTA agency appeared among the priorities of the Polish Ministry of Health in 2004 and was realized a year later. The Agency for HTA in Poland published guidelines on HTA and established a sound and transparent two-step (assessment-appraisal) process for preparing recommendations on public financing of both drugs and nondrug technologies. The recommendations of the Agency's Consultative Council were warmly welcomed by the public payer. However, the recent major restructuring of the Agency and new drug reimbursement decisions aroused doubts as to keeping transparency of the decision-making processes.
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