Greece makes a step towards the use of health technology assessment in decision-making

A WHO/Europe mission on health technology assessment (HTA) took place in Greece on 31 May–2 June 2017. This mission was carried out under the Strengthening Capacity for Universal Coverage (SCUC2) initiative.

The scope of the mission comprised:

  • a rapid assessment of the actions taken since the previous mission on HTA, in May 2016;
  • technical and legal support to the authorities on the proposed new legislative framework, which initiates a reform of the medicine reimbursement process;
  • identification of short- and medium-term objectives that will allow the creation of an environment where HTA is used in decision-making in Greece.

The agenda of the mission included discussions with the leadership of the Ministry of Health, members of the HTA Working Group and its legal team, the Director of the National Organization for Medicines (EOF), members of the Negotiating Committee and the current Positive List Committee, and the Director of the Institute of Pharmaceutical Research and Technology (IFET). The WHO team comprised experts from Portugal’s HTA agency, INFARMED, who provided technical support and inputs to the discussions and development of the legal framework. A joint meeting with representatives of the Ministry of Health and of the European Commission also took place on 1 June, in order to discuss the current actions of the authorities with regards to Greece’s commitments under the memorandum of understanding.

The Greek Ministry of Health organized a wrap-up meeting on 2 June. Mission findings and preliminary recommendations were discussed. Minister Andreas Xanthos expressed his personal appreciation for the support provided by WHO and the Portuguese partners and renewed the Greek Government’s commitment to achieving the transformation of the medicines reimbursement system, not only to cope with the short-term reform imperatives, but also as part of the country’s movement towards universal health coverage. The parties agreed on future steps in HTA policy implementation, related mainly to developing national capacities in HTA.

Background

The SCUC initiative is carried out with funding from the European Union through a grant agreement between the European Commission and WHO/Europe. The general objective of the initiative is to contribute to improving health and health equity in Greece, especially among the most vulnerable in the crisis-stricken population, by helping the Greek authorities move towards universal coverage and strengthening the effectiveness, efficiency and resilience of their health system.