Application of economic evidence in health technology assessment and decision-making for the allocation of health resources in Latin America: Seven key topics and a preliminary proposal for implementation
This technical note discusses the application of economic evidence in health technology assessments for decision-making on the allocation of health resources. There is already recognition in Latin America that the economic dimensions of health interventions, such as cost-effectiveness and budgetary impact, are critical dimensions that should always be considered when making decisions about the coverage or inclusion of technologies in benefits packages. However, there are still barriers and constraints that prevent the evaluation of economic evidence in the region from being an integral part of all decision-making processes, with serious implications for the equity and efficiency with which health resources are allocated. The purpose of this technical note is to provide elements and tools that contribute, in a practical way, to overcoming these barriers, answering the questions asked by health systems that are beginning to apply economic evidence in their evaluation and decision-making processes. How do we know if a technology or intervention is cost-effective in our context? What cost-effectiveness threshold should be applied? How might non-economic criteria and dimensions influence our cost-effectiveness threshold? What limit should be considered when a technology implies a high budgetary impact in a particular health system? Given the existing difficulties in generating local economic evidence, what can the economic evidence generated in other jurisdictions tell us? How can economic evidence be considered in a fragmented health system? Consideration of these aspects is key to ensuring fairer, more transparent allocation of health resources and thus achieving more efficient and equitable health systems in Latin America.