Medical Technology Assessment Board to be set up to assess medical technologies

The MTAB will aim to encourage the process and finalize the development of standardized cost effective interventions that will reduce the cost and variations in patient care, expenditure on medical equipment indirectly affecting the cost of patient care, overall cost of medical treatment, reduction in out of pocket expenditure of patients and streamline the medical reimbursement procedures.  Sources said the steps have already been taken to set up the Board and put into action at the earliest.

The need to establish such a board was discussed and recommended by 12th Plan Working Group on Health Research.  Considering the recommendations, the Government recognized the urgent requirement of Medical Technology Board in India and therefore, has decided to set up MTAB for evaluation and appropriateness and cost effectiveness of the available and new health technologies in the country, sources added.

The government would also hold consultation with stakeholders like technology generators, industry, regulators, economists, user groups and experts knowledgeable about similar models from UK, Canada, Australia, Thailand etc.  The MTAB will be a part of the overall regulatory/promotional structure being established in the DHR to accelerate indigenous production of health products/instruments/medical devices that are vital for providing cost effective healthcare.

As part of this initiative, an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) has just been signed between the DHR and the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), UK.  Follow-up action is being initiated to identify areas for collaboration for exchange of knowledge on procedures used by NICE for regulatory arrangements in UK in the first phase.  An Apex Advisory Committee to set up the board has been constituted and started functioning, sources added.

A Parliamentary panel has also called for early action for setting up MTAB which, the panel said, would go a long way in promoting development of indigenous medical technologies.  “The MTAB is proposed to be assigned with very critical activities. However, the reply of the Department does not indicate any time-frame within which the MTAB would become functional. A timeline may be fixed for completing the task,” the panel said.

REFERENCE:  Joseph Alexander, New Delhi; 20 JAN 2014

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