More than 50 HTA agencies evaluate the clinical value of medicines in Europe, resulting in duplication of work for HTA agencies and manufacturers, and lengthy and variable time to reimbursement for patients across Europe. A consistent, single European relative clinical scientific benefit assessment of medicines could become a key element in ensuring patients get equitable and timely access across Europe. The European Network for Health Technology Assessment (EUnetHTA) is responsible under Joint Action 3 (JA3, 2016–2020) to pilot more than 30 Relative Effectiveness Assessments (REAs) of medicines. The first EUnetHTA JA3 REA pilots are now being completed and Roche, with its participation in the REA pilot for alectinib, has gathered relevant experience.
The goal of this analysis is to summarize and reflect upon the experience with one of the first EUnetHTA REA assessments in JA3. The authors also propose potential process improvements.
The experience with the alectenib REA shows that EUnetHTA processes have improved compared to JA2. The timing of the assessment has been aligned with the EU regulatory marketing authorization process by shortening the duration of the scoping phase. More EUnetHTA members than in JA2 seem to be committed to use the reports in national HTA, pricing and reimbursement processes. At the same time, the REA pilots have identified other areas that could benefit from further refinement, for example the active engagement of patient group representatives and clinical experts, rules and principles related to the handling of confidential information.
Based on the limited number of REA pilots for medicines it is too early to draw final conclusions on the state of EU-level collaboration. But first signals indicate a positive development compared to REA pilots conducted in JA2. Interim evaluations are recommended to assess progress, and capture learnings for future pilots.