• In February 2019 President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Universal Health Care Act, ensuring all Filipinos are guaranteed equitable access to quality and affordable health services and automatically enrolled to the National Health Insurance Program, paving the way towards UHC for the Philippines. Evidence-based decision-making in health is a key pillar of UHC, and iDSI is supporting the newly established Center for Review of Health Technologies (STEP), the HTA unit within the Department of Health (DOH), and other stakeholders to develop capacities to generate and use relevant HTA evidence.

Our Impact

iDSI has:

Provided foundational support to the creation of STEP, the national HTA unit

iDSI’s engagement with the Philippines stems back to 2012, when the Global Health and Development Group (formerly NICE International) and HITAP worked with the Pharmaceutical Division of the Department of Health (DOH) to demonstrate how health technology assessment (HTA) could inform coverage decisions for vaccines and medicines, through collaboration on demonstration economic evaluation studies on the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV), human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine and breast cancer drugs. Filipino partners also joined HTAsiaLink and participated in a capacity building initiative on HTA for tobacco control funded by the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

Comprehensive situational analysis for HTA in the Philippines

In 2018, iDSI reviewed the HTA landscape in the Philippines, including through stakeholder interviews, covering the past, present and planned future statuses of HTA. This analysis is also shaping the evolution of STEP, formally launched by the Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III in Noveember 2018 (and formed initially in 2017 as the ‘HTA Study Group’) under the Health Policy Development and Planning Bureau. STEP’s role is to lead in coordinating and implementing HTA activities for both DOH and PhilHealth, the national health insurance corporation attached to DOH.

STEP was requested to explore activities and frameworks relevant to HTA, most notably UNICEF’s work on developing a priority setting process for new technologies. iDSI’s present collaboration with STEP aims to identify means of operationalising the UNICEF approach and bring coherence to the various HTA-related activities currently undertaken in the Philippines.

Building HTA capacity among STEP and key national stakeholders

iDSI is supporting STEP to identify and refine a priority topic for economic evaluation, advising on data requirements and sources, and conducting the economic analysis for policymakers.

A week-long workshop on economic evaluation was delivered by iDSI to over 100 Filipino stakeholders, including officials from DOH, PhilHealth, academia, as well as development partners. The workshop drew from the iDSI Reference Case principles for economic evaluation, and focused on: defining decision problems; conducting and interpreting cost-effectiveness analysis; and synthesising economic evidence for policymakers.

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