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IQWiG presents a concept for cost-benefit assessment methods in the German health care system
Date:1/29/2008

German legislature has expanded the responsibilities of the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) with the latest Health Care Reform (Statutory Health Insurance [SHI] - Act to Promote Competition). So far, the assessment of drugs has been limited to their clinical benefit. In future, the Institute is also to consider the costs of therapies and place these costs in relation to the benefits determined beforehand. IQWiG has recently presented a methods proposal that will be discussed broadly with the (scientific) public in the coming months.

Decision guidance for the self-government of the German health care system

According to legislation, the results provided by IQWiG are, on the one hand, to support the Central Federal Association of Health Insurance Funds (the national umbrella organisation for SHI funds) in setting the ceiling price for specific drugs that cannot be included in a reference price group. On the other hand, they are to support the Federal Joint Committee in assessing the efficiency of medical interventions, as to date there is no transparent and formally recognised procedure in Germany by which the clinical benefit of a therapy can be balanced against the accruing costs. This however is the precondition for enabling a decision as to which costs for which benefit are appropriate and reasonable for the community of citizens insured by SHI in Germany.

In principle suitable for all medical technologies

The concept developed with the support of a group of international health economists and with the advice provided by IQWiGs Scientific Advisory Board favours a method called the Efficiency Frontier Analysis. It can be used in a very flexible manner to compare the cost-benefit relation of any number of therapy alternatives. As a second element in the assessment, the concept includes a Budget Impact Analysis. This analysis can be used to estimate how a decision may affect expendit
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Contact: Anna-Sabine Ernst
info@iqwig.de
Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care
Source:Eurekalert

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