CIHR Abstract: 

Governments make decisions about what technologies to include in public medicare and their decisions are heavily influenced by Health Technology Assessment (HTA) bodies across Canada. In their assessments, HTA bodies take into account how well a technology works (as examples, orphan drugs, personalized medicines, robotic surgeries, implantable devices) and how much they cost. Increasingly they also factor into their assessments ethics and larger social concerns. HTA bodies should also factor in legal issues. Examples include whether a failure to fund a new technology is likely be challenged under human rights law for discriminating on the grounds of disability, or whether an implantable device that collects personal health information from your body is in compliance with relevant privacy laws.

Our multidisciplinary team of lawyers, ethicists and HTA researchers will work closely with representatives from HTA bodies. Our goal will be to equip non-lawyers working within HTA bodies so they can better identify and prioritize important legal issues that warrant professional legal advice before a positive or negative recommendation is made with respect to funding.

To achieve our goal we will closely evaluate existing HTA decisions to see what legal issues they identify or fail to identify, and relevant court cases. We will use this as a basis to develop an Identification Framework, with categories of technologies with similar characteristics that we map to important legal issues with links to plain-language summaries and other supports. We will test this Framework out using a range of technology case-studies in workshops with HTA bodies.

Building on this, we will develop a Prioritization Tool that will better help HTA bodies weigh the risks associated with different legal issues. Our ultimate goal is to improve how we decide what is and is not included within public medicare as pressures increase from patients and innovators to include more and more.

Principal Investigator:  Flood C

Co-Invetigators: Herder M, Cortez N, Syrett K, Aith F,Krahn M, Clement F, Hardcastle L.

Study Timeline: Apr 2020 – Apr 2023  

Funding Total: $380,000

Funding Partner: Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR)

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