The National Centre for Pharmacoeconomics conducts the health technology assessment (HTA) of pharmaceutical products for the Health Service Executive (HSE) in Ireland in collaboration with the HSE Corporate Pharmaceutical Unit (HSE-CPU). The aim of the centre is to promote expertise in Ireland for the advancement of the discipline of pharmacoeconomics through practice, research and education.
NCPE Health Technology Assessment
The NCPE conducts the health technology assessment (HTA) of pharmaceutical products for the Health Service Executive (HSE) inIreland. Since September 2009, in collaboration with the HSE Corporate Pharmaceutical Unit (HSE-CPU), we now consider the cost effectiveness of all new medicines following receipt of an application for reimbursement under the Community Drugs Schemes. In practice, all medicines will be subjected to a preliminary rapid review. High cost products and those with significant budget impact will be subjected to formal pharmacoeconomic assessment. Similarly, products where there is a query in relation to value for money will also be selected for formal pharmacoeconomic assessment. The rapid review process takes approximately 4 weeks and the formal pharmacoeconomic assessment is completed in less than 3 months. Following formal pharmacoeconomic assessment, a full appraisal report outlining NCPE conclusions and recommendations is sent to the HSE-CPU to support evidence-based decision-making on reimbursement. Information on cost-effectiveness of the technology over a threshold-range up to €45,000/QALY is provided. In the case of oncology drugs a report is also sent to the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP).
Research and Education
Research conducted by the NCPE aims to support evidence-based decision making. The NCPE is linked with the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Trinity College Dublin and has close collaborative links with international health economic academic centres. The NCPE is a member of the Pharmaceutical Pricing and Reimbursement Information (PPRI) Network and contributes to international organisations including EUnetHTA, INAHTA and ISPOR. Pharmacoeconomic research in the centre focuses predominantly on the economic evaluation of health technologies in high cost therapeutic areas. In addition, the NCPE studies the use of pharmaceuticals in the Irish population in order to support the cost-effective and rational use of drugs in Ireland. A contribution to the undergraduate pharmacology curriculum and post graduate training complements the educational component of the centre’s activities.
The European Network for Health Technology Assessment (EUnetHTA)
EUnetHTA was established to create an effective and sustainable network for HTA across Europe through:
facilitating efficient use of resources available for HTA
creating a sustainable system of HTA knowledge sharing
promoting good practice in HTA methods and processes.
The NCPE is participating as a partner in Joint Action 3 following nomination by the Department of Health. More than sixty organisations from 27 Member States and Norway were nominated by their respective Ministries of Health to participate in the final joint action on HTA that aims at defining and implementing a sustainable mechanism for the scientific and technical cooperation on HTA in Europe.