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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Call for legislated consumer voice in HTA

Health Industry Hub | April 11, 2024 |

Pharma News: The consultation period for the Co-design of an Enhanced Consumer Engagement Process in health technology assessment (HTA) recently concluded, with the Consumer Health Forum (CHF) advocating for a legislative mandate to involve consumers.

CHF has firmly backed the integration of consumer voices across critical touchpoints along the entire health technology pathway. The peak consumer body supports the inclusion of First Nations communities and socially and culturally diverse/underrepresented groups.

“If not legislated as a requirement, the consumer engagement framework risks being implemented ineffectively, possibly jeopardising benefits to both consumer and HTA processes,” CHF said in its submission.

Additionally, consumers should be informed about how their input influences reimbursement decision-making. This allows the HTA process to elevate itself from a “dollars and cents” view of health and provide recommendations that consider broader economic and social impacts. CHF supports the development of a checklist to assist decision-makers in integrating equity considerations.

Pre-listing status reports for new medicines should be published using plain language communications to describe the timeline for negotiations and the reasons for any delay. Establishing a path for consumers to initiate a post-market review about their experiences and usage of health technology is also recommended.

In recognising the interplay between the commercial and clinical aspects within the HTA process, CHF is supporting consumer roles for both clinical and commercial input.

“However, there’s a potential for conflict of interest, whether real or perceived, in this approach,” the organisations said. Thus, the CHF is urging the legislation to actively pursue balance in HTA consumer consultation processes through various means, such as ensuring a quota among selected consumers with no prior involvement in the pharmaceutical and medical fields.

“CHF strongly advocates for a collaborative process by which consumers are nominated, vetted, and trained with oversight from health consumer peak bodies. Such an approach will likely increase trust in the independence of health consumer input into HTA processes,” the organisation stated.

The final recommendations will be submitted in a report to the Federal Minister for Health and Aged Care, Mark Butler MP, by 30 June 2024.

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