The Essential Drugs Programme (EDP) within the National Department of Health is in the process of updating the existing technical methods used for the assessment and appraisal of medicines when considering selection to the National Standard Treatment Guidelines (STGs) and Essential Medicines List (EML).
The EDP coordinates the assessment of all technologies that fall within the scope of the STGs and EML (primary, second and tertiary and quaternary level of care) utilising an internal staff secretariat and Ministerial-appointed advisory committees.
The updated methods aim to strengthen the practice of health technology assessment (HTA) for medicines in South Africa by establishing formal methods for estimating budget impact and costeffectiveness in addition to the existing evidence-based medicine methodology. In addition, the methods also aim to standardise approaches for developing evidence beyond effectiveness and efficiency to incorporate equity and other social values, creating a comprehensive HTA methodology for generation of evidence-informed decisions related to the use of medicines in South Africa. The methods do not preclude any procedural or institutional developments related to HTA under National Health Insurance reforms and will clarify and aim to strengthen the existing methodological practice in this technical area.