Taiwan’s Plans to Control Medical Costs

Taiwan’s Department of Health (DOH) plans to introduce a Health Technology Assessment (HTA) system to control rising healthcare costs. This HTA system would require all medical devices, new drugs and innovative surgical procedures to demonstrate effectiveness in improving patients’ health and cutting costs before being reimbursed by the Bureau of National Health Insurance (BNHI) insurance plan. The HTA is scheduled to go into effect in one year. It would be overseen by the Center of Drug Evaluation.

With the introduction of HTA, medical companies may have more difficulty importing new products, needing to spend more time and money to demonstrate a product’s efficacy and cost savings. The DOH has said it will closely analyze the costs. It is considering using a computer-simulated analysis of all possible costs so that foreign pharmaceutical companies are not as burdened. Currently, the Bureau of Pharmaceutical Affairs (BOPA) under the DOH has said that the HTA would be difficult to implement due to the current shortage of relevant experts and professionals at the DOH. Therefore, the BOPA is carefully evaluating the appropriate effective date of the HTA system.

The HTA system has been in planning for several years.

It has precedents in similar systems that have been put into place in many countries such as Australia, Canada, the U.K., and South Korea.