Objectives: Although health technology assessment (HTA) has been well established in all developed countries, it has not found a firm footing in many developing countries. This is especially true of the Asia Pacific region, which has much of the world population.
Methods: The beginnings of HTA in this region go back to the work of Dr. David Banta in China and the establishment of the Asian HTA Network. The Network embarked on increasing awareness and building capacity among personnel from the region. Attempts were made to introduce HTA in countries where it did not exist, as well as to strengthen existing HTA programs. The Network had regular meetings, and also carried out a study on the diffusion and utilization of magnetic resonance imaging in the region. In an attempt to boost the efforts of the Network, the author spearheaded the organization of the Asian Regional HTA Conferences in Kuala Lumpur in 2000 and 2003, and in Manila, Philippines, in 2004. In addition, the author carried out a survey on HTA in the region. There are two broad categories of countries in the region: Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand, China, Philippines, Korea, Thailand, and Taiwan, which have formal HTA programs, and others for which informal mechanisms or related activities exist, which include Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.
Results: It is important that once HTA is established, it is used effectively. Perseverance and dedication is needed to ensure the success of an HTA program.
Conclusion: Some countries in the region have effective HTA programs, whereas in some, efforts are being made to establish HTA, or HTA-related activities are being carried out in the absence of a formal HTA program.