Taiwan's National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA) and the United Kingdom's National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have signed a partnership agreement on 18th May 2023.
Cancer remains the leading cause of death in Taiwan, and its incidence continues to rise. The rapidly evolving treatment methods for cancer have put a significant strain on the limited resources of the National Health Insurance system. To expedite access to advanced cancer drugs while also considering the sustainability of the health insurance system, Director-General Chung-Liang Shih of the NHIA, Director-General Chao-Chun Wu of the Health Promotion Administration, and CEO Shyr-Yi Lin of the Center for Drug Evaluation (CDE) visited NICE and officials from the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK.
During the visit, discussions were held on various topics, including the operation of the Innovative Medicines Fund (IMF) and the Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF), HTA methodology, and diverse financial management mechanisms. On May 18, NHIA Director-General Chung-Liang Shih, CDE's CEO Shyr-Yi Lin, and NICE signed a partnership agreement, solidifying their commitment to deepen information exchange and personnel training. The collaboration aims to enhance the evaluation and inclusion of new drugs in the health insurance system, providing a more comprehensive cancer treatment guarantee to the population.
NICE is the independent body responsible for driving improvement and excellence in the health and social care system. It develops guidance, standards and information on high-quality health and social care. NICE also advises on ways to promote healthy living and prevents ill health.
NICE’s aim is to help practitioners deliver the best possible care and give people the most effective treatments, which are based on the most up-to-date evidence and provide value for money, in order to reduce inequalities and variation.
NICE’s products and resources are produced for the NHS, local authorities, care providers, charities, and anyone who has a responsibility for commissioning or providing healthcare, public health or social care services. This visit aimed to learn how to effectively utilize HTA techniques within the constraints of limited resources, ensuring timely access to breakthrough new drugs. Additionally, the collection and assessment of real-world data will aid in phasing out drugs that lack proof of cost-effectiveness at the time of initial assessment, ensuring that resources are focused where they are most needed. This partnership agreement provides a solution to the challenges posed by expensive new drugs with uncertain outcomes.
Director-General Chung-Liang Shih expressed during the meeting, "Today, it is my great honor to lead the Taiwan delegation from the Ministry of Health and Welfare to visit NICE, which has a 24-year-long history, and learn about the renowned Cancer Drugs Fund system. Signing a partnership agreement on behalf of the NHIA with NICE is an important milestone in the 28-year history of Taiwan's National Health Insurance development." NICE also have MOUs with Canada's CADTH and Australia's PBAC, both being top international HTA institutions, which demonstrates the recognition of the NHIA's big data management and the impact of the CDE in HTA.
“We are delighted to support Taiwan's ambitions to advance their HTA system and are keen to share our experience in the UK with them. This agreement provides us with an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas and find common solutions to HTA-related challenges that will translate into benefits for patients in both our countries.” Pilar Pinilla-Dominguez, NICE International Associate Director.
Through this agreement, the NHIA and NICE will focus on personnel training and technical discussions in HTA. The collaboration will provide an opportunity to learn about the latest trends and methods in cutting edge HTA skills. This will include comprehensive exchanges on processes and methods for developing HTA evaluations of new drugs, the application of real-world data, and the financial operation of the innovative medicines funds and cancer drugs funds. The NHIA is eager to share its advancements in big data management and the utilization of artificial intelligence with NICE, fostering a mutually beneficial partnership and promoting the effective implementation of the partnership agreement.