King Saud University Establishes HTA Unit for Saudi Arabia

Date: May 26, 2021 | Country: SAUDI ARABIA | Region: MIDDLE EAST | Type: Breaking NewsHTA | Keywords: #arabia #assessment #health #hta #pricing #riyadh #saudi #technology

PRICENTRIC BRIEF:

  • Hussain Al-Omar, Associate Professor of Pharmacoeconomics at King Saud University has announced the formation of a new Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Unit for Saudi Arabia
  • The organization is the first unit of its kind to be launched in the region and is being implemented in order to “serve the needs of health policy and decision-makers in both public and private sectors whilst keeping them informed using a scientific approach and robust methods”
  • When announcing the unit, Al-Omar noted: “Globally, entities are leaning towards a more sustainable future with value-based approaches to help reduce unwarranted spending. As such, the HTA Unit will take part in advising our partners about mechanisms of pharmaceutical pricing and reimbursement for novel health technologies as well as propose the best innovative payment models”

THE DETAILS

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia—Hussain Al-Omar, Associate Professor of Pharmacoeconomics at King Saud University has announced the formation of a new Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Unit for Saudi Arabia.

The organization is the first unit of its kind to be launched in the region and is being implemented in order to “serve the needs of health policy and decision-makers in both public and private sectors whilst keeping them informed using a scientific approach and robust methods.”

When announcing the unit, Al-Omar noted: “Globally, entities are leaning towards a more sustainable future with value-based approaches to help reduce unwarranted spending. As such, the HTA Unit will take part in advising our partners about mechanisms of pharmaceutical pricing and reimbursement for novel health technologies as well as propose the best innovative payment models.

“Additionally, the unit will provide reinforcements in the form of health economic models, budget impact models, HTA and health economics training and building capabilities in the country. By doing so, the unit will be working in tandem with governmental and private bodies; providing support and meeting the objectives of the Kingdom’s 2030 vision.”

Following the announcement, Pricentric is keeping track of updates in real-time and will update the newsfeed as more information becomes available.

The announcement follows speculation of developing HTA practices in the region.

Speaking at the recent EPA World Congress, Mostafa Alabed, Ministry of Health Saudi Arabia explained how the country is divided into two sections, public and private healthcare systems.

The largest healthcare provider is the Ministry of Health, which provides 60% of healthcare, followed by other government ministries which provide approximately 20% for employees and their families. The final 20% is provided by the private sector.

According to Alabed, Saudi Arabia is currently dealing with a number of challenges:

  • Increasing life expectancy
  • High chronic diseases rates
  • Inadequate primary care
  • Gaps in the quality of service provided to patients
  • Gaps in workforce capacity and capability
  • The upcoming national transformation plan (NTP) hopes to transform healthcare by easing access to health services, improving the quality and efficiency of healthcare services, and promoting prevention against health risks

Pertaining to Al-Omar’s new announcement of an HTA agency, Alabed also noted that there are a number of expectations with the establishment of an official HTA body, but workshops are currently occurring that gather experts from different backgrounds to discuss topics and share knowledge that will help guide the project in the right direction.

He also noted how HTA can cause a delay in access if not done properly and as such there should be a national mandate informing decision for the whole population, regardless of cover by the Ministry of Health or not.

Decision-making needs to be “independent and transparent,” Alabed noted. “The HTA process should address the full scope of technologies. There has also been a suggestion that medical devices need more medical assessment.”

He added, “Establishing an independent HTA center is one of the steps to improve value-based healthcare, it has an important role in healthcare around the world especially when it comes to resource allocation and decision making.”

Saudi Arabia is undergoing a number of changes in relation to drug pricing and reimbursement, including the introduction of a new pricing policy, updating guidelines for determining the prices of medicines and reorganizing the Kingdom’s reference basket.

These changes took effect on January 14, 2021.

In regard to reference pricing (IRP), Saudi Arabia has shrunk its basket from 30 countries to 20, removing Algeria, Argentina, Bahrain, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Germany, Greece, Kuwait, New Zealand, Oman, Spain and Turkey, and adding Brazil, Austria, South Africa. The Kingdom’s updated reference basket now includes Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the United Kingdom.

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