The health burden of malignancies is greater in Central-Eastern Europe than in Western Europe. Furthermore, these countries have more limited healthcare resources, and therefore transparent decision criteria for innovative cancer therapies, including the assessment of cost-effectiveness, are an absolute necessity. Transferability of good-quality technology assessment reports, especially those prepared by National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in the UK, could be highly beneficial to prevent duplication of efforts and save resources for local technology assessment. Our objective was to summarise key factors influencing the transferability of NICE recommendations in oncology for policy makers and oncologists in Central-Eastern Europe without personal experience in health technology assessment. In general, NICE recommendations are not transferable without adjustment of the analyses to local data. Even if the recommendation is positive, the conclusion can still be negative in lower-income countries, mainly due to relative price differences and the significance of the local budget impact. Technologies with negative NICE recommendations can still be cost-effective in Central-Eastern Europe due to the worse health status and therefore the greater potential health gain of the targeted population. The appropriateness of reimbursement decisions must be improved in Central-Eastern Europe, but copying NICE recommendations without local adjustment may do more harm than good.
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.