The Health Technology Assessment International (HTAi) Asia Policy Forum (HAPF) met to discuss the challenges of achieving universal health care (UHC) in Asia.
Group discussions and presentations at the 2017 HAPF, informed by a background paper, including a literature review and the results of pre-meeting surveys of health technology assessment (HTA) agencies and industry, formed the basis of this article.
Affordability was identified as the greatest barrier to establishing UHC; however, other impediments include the lack of political will to implement UHC, and the cultural issue of deference to expert opinion instead of evidence-based assessments. Although HTA was identified as an important prioritization tool when adding new technologies to benefit packages, it is used inconsistently in the region, resulting in a less transparent decision-making process for stakeholders. Although regional challenges exist around real-world data (RWD), including a lack of capacity to enable information and data sharing, most policy or funding decision makers in the region have access to data. However, there appears to be a disconnect with the experience of industry, whose representatives identify the lack of RWD as their primary issue. To overcome these issues, both HTA agencies and industry agree that collaboration and transparency should be fostered to support the development of robust evidence generation in the region.
There is a willingness for HTA agencies and industry to collaborate to develop HTA methodology for the prioritization of technologies in the Asia region that support healthcare systems to achieve the ultimate outcome of UHC.
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