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Plugging knowledge gaps to demonstrate the benefits of new medicines

Due to the finite budgets available to national health systems, doctors are often restricted in the treatments they can prescribe. Decisions must be made to prioritise those treatments that are both effective and cost-effective. However, sometimes there is a lack of information available to support these decisions. Consensus techniques, such as the Delphi method, are structured processes that can be used to provide unbiased evidence from healthcare experts. The use of such evidence-generating methods is aimed at reaching consensus where there are knowledge gaps in either the published scientific literature or where there are variations in how patients are treated. Answers to such questions may be particularly important for health technology appraisals (HTA)s, which provide guidance on whether new medicines should be made available for prescribing.  

Hayward Medical Communications recently presented a poster, titled The use of consensus techniques to inform health technology appraisals, at the 19th Annual European Conference of the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research in Vienna, Austria.

The study aimed determine whether consensus evidence gathering techniques were used to inform guidance on medicines undergoing health technology appraisals. The use of consensus techniques was determined by searching appraisal documents and web sites of UK-based HTA bodies. The use of consensus techniques was reported in nine technology appraisals from the three different UK HTA bodies, with numbers increasing between 2013 and 2015. Use of these techniques was primarily during assessment of medicines for rare illnesses, possibly reflecting a lack of evidence in such therapy areas.

Presenting author, James Davies, commented, ‘It’s important to understand if alternative information gathering techniques satisfy the evidence criteria set by HTA bodies, considering the increasing use of medicines for rare conditions, where evidence from conventional sources can be limited’.  

Click here to view the poster.

22nd November 2016