A special conference in the coming week on 13-15 May 2013 is another eye—catching event for the Health Technology Assessment (HTA) circles, especially in the Asia-Pacific region. The HTAsiaLink, a collaborative network between Asian Health Technology Assessment agencies, together with honorable guests from partner organizations namely NICE international, Rockefeller Foundation, Health Technology Assessment International (HTAi) and International Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessment (INAHTA), will join the 2nd HTAsiaLink annual conference in Penang, Malaysia. This year’s conference is hosted by the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia and partly funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and HTAi.
With an aim of being a learning platform for young HTA researchers in the region, the conference offers opportunities for junior staff from HTA agencies in Asia to present their research studies and receive constructive comments and suggestions from well-known HTA experts. Moreover, in an informal atmosphere with approximately 100 participants, this event will enhance the interaction between staff from partner agencies, as well as opportunities to learn and share knowledge with the world renown experts and policy-makers from member countries.
Thirty-eight abstracts from HTA agencies in seven countries will be presented in two parallel sessions: Economic Evaluation and Health System Research sessions, reflecting important health problems and corresponding technologies used in different contexts. The research topics involve varieties of issues such as treatments of cardiovascular and urinary diseases, breast cancer therapy, mental disorders, population-based health screening, prevention of influenza pandemic, interventions for obesity management, and treatment and prevention programs for cervical cancer.
The Conference also consists of expert panel sessions on health technology assessment in different aspects. Dr.Jeanette Vega, Managing Director of the Rockefeller Foundation will provide her perspectives concerning the role of HTA and evidence-informed priority setting in reaching universal coverage. Then followed by a panel discussion to address the relationship between HTA and different values considered in a decision making process: Understanding, Measuring and Using Value in Decisions on the Availability and Price of Treatments. This is a great opportunity to learn from Dr. Chris Henshall, HTAi representative; Dr. Kalipso Chalkidou, Director of NICE international; Dr.Jasmine Pwu, Director of HTA unit in Taiwan; and a representative from pharmaceutical industry.
Since the use of HTA requires close connection between researchers and decision makers, we invited health policy figures from Thailand and Malaysia as well as the chair of INAHTA to exchange their experiences in a panel session: HTA in Asia Pacific: Past, Present and Future. Finally, Professor Tony Culyer, a well-known scholar will give a talk on the role of context as determining factor of HTA and value judgments.
Despite a significant number of researchers who expressed their interests to join in, this conference cannot accommodate as many participants as we wished. The HTAsiaLink secretariat team will therefore try our best to bring you the day-to-day summaries of the meeting contents and special interviews with experts and participants. Please visit www.htasialink.org where news and activities related to the conference will be updated and publicly available for all.
Last but not least, Assoc Prof Dr Asrul Akmal Shafie, Chairperson of the 2nd HTAsiaLink Annual Conference Organizing Committee expressed that ‘We are pleased to welcome participants from all over the world to join our conference that is designed to address problem we face in the theory and practice of HTA and nurture young talents in the region. Enjoy the conference and the beautiful Penang Island!”