Objectives: To provide an overview of the development of health technology assessment (HTA) in Germany since the 1990s.
Methods: Analysis of key documents (e.g. literature, laws, and other official documentation) and personal experiences.
Results: Health technology assessment (HTA) entered the political agenda in Germany only in the mid-1990s, basically as the result of a top-down approach toward more efficiency in health care, but with a strong impetus of an evidence-based medicine movement. Accordingly, HTA became part of several healthcare reform laws since 1997, which led to the establishment of the Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) and the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) in 2004. This tandem construction aims at using evidence in decision-making processes for coverage and other decisions.
Conclusions: These developments have led to a considerable impact of HTA in Germany. In addition, a broad spectrum of activities at universities and in other organizations, such as the German Institute for Medical Documentation and Information (DIMDI), can be observed that contribute to both teaching and research in HTA. German researchers in the field of HTA are actively involved in international projects, such as EUNetHTA, and contribute to scientific conferences and journals.