Healthcare systems around the world are increasingly under-resourced in the face of increasingly expensive treatments being developed by companies. So governments are increasingly turning to agencies such as the UK's NICE to assess whether drugs, equipment and other types of interventions are clinically and financially effective. The EU launched an initiative this year to develop common standards on such 'health technology assessment' (HTA) systems, which can decide whether or not a medicine is successful. The goal is to streamline and speed up the process for approving medicines after safety, efficacy and quality. European Health Ministers have decided to standardize the approach to Hta. Some pharmaceutical companies believe that the implementation of HTAs is just an excuse to cut costs, thus limiting medical innovation and patients' access to the best life-saving medicines.
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