Regulatory space and the contextual mediation of common functional pressures: Analyzing the factors that led to the German Efficiency Frontier approach

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Journal Article
Health Policy, 2013, 109 (3), pp. 270 - 280
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There are no automatic links between the functional advantages and pressures associated with delegation to independent agencies for Health Technology Assessment (HTA) and their emergence in national regulatory spaces. We argue that the rise of these organizations is mediated by contextual factors, which must be explained. Accordingly, we analyze the German 'regulatory space' for health policy decision-making, identifying contextual factors relevant to the adoption of the Efficiency Frontier approach. Based on qualitative interviews with key stakeholders, we argue that the development of the Efficiency Frontier can be associated with cultural reluctance to frame healthcare prioritization decisions around cost based valuations of human health and related doubts about the validity of metrics for human health gain. Based on this finding, we conclude that the delegation of authority to independent HTA agencies follows a broadly evolutionary pattern, in which contextual factors allow for significant variation in institutional and methodological responses to the functional pressures and advantages leading to their establishment. © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.
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