Currently, reimbursement decisions based on health technology assessments (HTA) in the Netherlands mostly concern outpatient pharmaceuticals. The Dutch government aspires to broaden the systematic application of full HTA towards other types of health care in order to optimise the content of the basic benefit package. This paper identifies important challenges for broadening the scope of full HTA to other types of health care. Based on a description of the Dutch reimbursement decision-making process, five important characteristics of outpatient pharmaceuticals were identified, which are all relevant to the successful application of HTA: (i) closed reimbursement system, (ii) absence of alternative policy measures, (iii) existence of marketing authorisation, (iv) identifiable and accountable counterparty, and (v) product characteristics. For a selection of other types of health care, which may be subject to HTA more frequently in the future, deviations from these characteristics of outpatient pharmaceuticals are discussed. The implications of such deviations for performing HTA and the decision-making process are highlighted. It is concluded that broadening the application of HTA will require policy makers to meet both important policy-related and methodological challenges. These challenges differ per health care domain, which may inform policy makers which expansions of the current use of HTA are most feasible.

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Keywords Non-drugs, policy, reimbursement, The Netherlands
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Journal Health Economics, Policy and Law
Enzing, J.J. (Joost J.), Knies, S, Boer, B. (Bert), & Brouwer, W.B.F. (2020). Broadening the application of health technology assessment in the Netherlands: A worthwhile destination but not an easy ride?. Health Economics, Policy and Law. doi:10.1017/S1744133120000237