Problems with Review and Funding of Medical Technology in Australia

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In an effort to improve the process for listing, evaluating and funding new medical technology, the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing recently completed a review of health technology assessment (HTA) agencies in Australia. To be listed on the Australian Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS), a new medical procedure must be submitted to Medical Services Advisory Committe (MSAC) for an HTA.

Review of HTA in Australia first pageThe most significant change resulting from the review is a requirement for greater clinical evidence. While it is not yet clear how much evidence is required, it is clear that applying the same clinical evidence requirements for devices as for pharmaceuticals is problematic.

Susanne P O’Malley, author of a newly published article in the MJA highlights another issue “There is currently no effective funding process for medical technology classified as capital equipment or consumables and disposables. This has created a perverse incentive in favour of using funded implantable prostheses based on access to funding rather than superior clinical effectiveness.”

More information about the HTA Review is available from the DHA website. For an industry perspective, see comment from the Medical Technology Association of Australia.

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