The economic evaluation of healthcare technologies has become in many countries a basic tool for reimbursement, pricing and purchasing decisions.
The objective of this article is to examine the institutional, legal, and political factors that have impeded the application of economic evaluation and the criterion of efficiency in the process of pricing and reimbursement of new medicines in Spain.
Narrative description of the current institutional framework for the use of economic evaluation in pricing and reimbursement in Spain, legal and policy framework in the field of evaluation of new medicines, and stakeholder initiatives and policies related to the use of economic evaluation outside of the pricing and reimbursement process.
Spain has an institutional framework created and established over the last years that could have facilitated a formal use of economic evaluation in the process of pricing and reimbursement. Nevertheless, the real use of economic evaluation at the central or regional level is still unknown, although application of the efficiency criterion, linking to cost-effectiveness, has been clearly required by Spanish laws and regulations at the national level. We highlight a certain degree of moral hazard from the central government that is not directly responsible for the budget impact of reimbursement and pricing decisions. There are currently a number of ongoing initiatives in the field of economic evaluation by various agents, but they remain uncoordinated.
Poor governance at the highest level of decision making is the main reason for the lack of interest in economic evaluation. A profound political change, supported by transparency and accountability, is required before the criterion of efficiency can be fully considered in the process of pricing and reimbursement of new medicines in Spain.