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Medical technology procurement in Europe: A cross-country comparison of current practice and policy

Authors
Publisher
Elsevier Ireland Ltd
Volume
100
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2010.08.001
Keywords
  • Medical Devices
  • Procurement
  • Purchasing
  • Health Systems
  • Medical Technology
Disciplines
  • Medicine
  • Political Science

Abstract

Abstract Procurement policy can influence the diffusion of medical devices into national health systems, but limited comparative evidence exists on how countries procure such technologies. This paper discusses the procurement of select medical devices across five countries (England, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain) based on a review of published and grey literature and policy documents, as well as expert interviews. All countries have introduced various regulatory or policy measures that implicitly or explicitly influence device procurement, from lists of devices for purchase to changes in financing mechanisms. There has also been movement toward more centralized procurement with the introduction of purchasing groups or consortiums, notably in England, France, Germany, and Italy. While a number of stakeholder groups are involved in purchasing activities, a greater, more formalized role for physicians and governments is needed to ensure that technologies procured best meet patient needs and align with national health care priorities and other sectoral objectives. A general theme across all national procurement systems was a focus on cost-containment, but like other areas of technology policy (e.g., coverage), basing purchasing decisions on a broader range of criteria, such as quality and health outcomes, might better allow governments to achieve value for money and support patient access to beneficial innovations. More research is needed, however, to substantiate the role and influence of procurement on balancing the adoption and affordability of medical technologies.

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