The opportunity cost of inappropriate health policy decisions is greater in Central and Eastern European (CEE) compared with Western European (WE) countries because of poorer population health and more limited healthcare resources. Application of health technology assessment (HTA) prior to healthcare financing decisions can improve the allocative efficiency of scarce resources. However, few CEE countries have a clear roadmap for HTA implementation. Examples from high-income countries may not be directly relevant, as CEE countries cannot allocate so much financial and human resources for substantiating policy decisions with evidence. Our objective was to describe the main HTA implementation scenarios in CEE countries and summarize the most important questions related to capacity building, financing HTA research, process and organizational structure for HTA, standardization of HTA methodology, use of local data, scope of mandatory HTA, decision criteria, and international collaboration in HTA. Although HTA implementation strategies from the region can be relevant examples for other CEE countries with similar cultural environment and economic status, HTA roadmaps are not still fully transferable without taking into account country-specific aspects, such as country size, gross domestic product per capita, major social values, public health priorities, and fragmentation of healthcare financing.
Keywords: Central and Eastern European countries; HTA components; HTA implementation; economic evaluation; evidence-based decision-making; health technology assessment.
© 2016 The Authors. Health Economics published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.