Research Themes

Health technology assessment (HTA) is a multidisciplinary, systematic, transparent, unbiased and robust process. It aims to determine the effectiveness, comparative effectiveness, cost effectiveness (value) and affordability of health interventions. It supports the development of safe, effective, health policies that are patient-focused and seek to achieve best value. The NCPE conducts HTAs, of drugs, to inform evidence-based decision-making on the reimbursement of drugs in Ireland. Our HTA evaluations inform the advice and recommendations that we provide to the HSE. 

For the purposes of research and teaching, the NCPE is affiliated with the Disipline of Pharmacology & Therapeutics, School of Medicine, Trinity College Dublin. Our research aims to identify and address gaps in the evidence required to make informed reimbursement decisions. It informs national and international guidance on HTA. It involves collaborations with national, European and international partners. Our research portfolios include in-house PhD research programmes which align practical training in HTA with specific research programmes. We disseminate research outputs in national, European and international, peer-reviewed, top-in-field journals and conferences. The NCPE plays a key role in international organisations including EUnetHTA, Beneluxa, INAHTA and ISPOR. The NCPE is a member of the Pharmaceutical Pricing and Reimbursement Information Network.

Our research themes include:

Economic Evaluation is the comparative analysis of alternative courses of action in terms of both their costs and consequences. Economic evaluation increases the transparency of resource allocation decisions. They inform the efficient use of healthcare resources and support health policy decisions. Cost-utility analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis are the key applied economic evaluations. These differ in how they measure outcomes of the health interventions under consideration. Some of our research outputs can be found at

Cost-of-illness research aims to determine the total cost of a disease to the healthcare service, patients and society. Cost-of-illness research outputs are used to inform economic evaluations, they can help to determine research and funding priorities and are a useful aid to policy decision making. Some of our research outputs can be found at

Drug Utilisation research includes evaluations of the prescribing, dispensing and utilisation of the drug(s) under consideration, along with analyses of the associated expenditure. The NCPE routinely analyses dispensing and expenditure data contained on a national, primary-care database. Drug utilisation research outputs are used to populate economic evaluations, they help to inform the rational and cost-effective use of drugs. Some of our research outputs can be found at

Methodological Approaches, used in HTA, are evolving continuously in response to the increasing complexity of clinical development programmes and decision-making processes. NCPE research, in this area, contributes to the development and the understanding of such approaches. Our work includes evidence-synthesis research, survival analysis research and analyses of the feasibility, and utility, of incorporating novel approaches into HTA processes. Key, for this work, are our collaborative links with the Centre for Health Decision Science (CHeDS) and the School of Computer Science & Statistics, Trinity College Dublin. Some of our research outputs can be found at:

Health outcomes research identifies and measures the link between health interventions and the patient-related outcomes. Outcomes can include clinical outcomes, financial impact, and a range of functional measures, including quality of life and satisfaction. For this research, data might be derived from a range of sources including medical records and patient questionnaires. Health outcomes research outputs are used to populate economic evaluations. They can support informed decision-making by providing data about benefits and risks of health interventions. Some of our research outputs can be found at:

Our research aims to identify and limit the challenges that Covid-19, and potential future pandemics, may introduce to international HTA and decision-making approaches. Key, in this research, are our collaborative links with the Health Research Institute and MACSI, University of Limerick. Some of our research outputs can be found at: