[Health economics and HTA].
For a comprehensive health technology assessment (HTA), health economic studies are analysed as well as medical studies. Significance and effects of HTA are rather different in European countries. In Germany HTA is conducted by two official agencies: DIMDI and IQWiG. While DIMDI requires health economic assessments, IQWiG is prohibited from considering economic aspects by law (pure assessment of benefits). For the health economic assessment in HTA reports mainly secondary scientific evidence is exploited, i.e. primarily cost effectiveness and cost utility analyses. The study perspective, the study alternatives and the modelling methods are of great importance for the evaluation and have to be justified in depth. The cost effectiveness ratio and the budget impact are the most important results of the health economic assessment, which is the basis for the appraisal by the health care authorities. For this decision medical, utilitarian or other aspects like the avoidance of unwanted distribution effects are considered. On the other hand often only a few studies are available for the decision making when the appraisal has to be done. This problem might be less relevant in the near future as the number of HTAs and the number of health economic evaluations increases.