ROME, April 16, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Centralised purchasing of medical devices does not reduce prices and medical devices are often undervalued as analyses focus only on the short-term financial and economic perspectives. This was the core message that was presented by Prof Rosanna Tarricone, Executive Director of the European Health Technology Institute for Socio-Economic Research (EHTI) and Associate Professor at Bocconi University, at the 3rd National Congress on Medical Devices which took place on 13-14 April 2010 in Rome.

During the opening session on the second day of the Congress, Prof Tarricone summarized the conclusions of a survey conducted from 2007 to 2009 in Italy by the General Directorate of Drugs and Medical Devices of the Italian Ministry of Health in cooperation with CERGAS Bocconi University. The aim of the survey was investigating the main aspects of procurement procedures, expenditures and consumption of medical devices, and capital equipment for imaging. Cardiovascular, orthopaedic and neurosurgery/neuroradiology products were explored.

Data shows that while procurement procedures become more centralised, prices coefficient of variation (CV) decreases to almost nil. However, such phenomenon is not correlated with the inter-regional prices variability observed for each category of medical devices. In other words, centralised purchases are not always predictive of lower prices, says Prof Tarricone.

Another aspect under investigation was the presence of Health Technology Assessment (HTA) Commissions. Almost all the Local Health Authorities (LHA) sampled for the survey have established a HTA Commission for medical devices. Nevertheless, the activities of such Commissions are often limited to a partial evaluation, mainly focusing on the short-term financial and economic perspectives. This approach is also confirmed by the purchasing analysis that mainly focuses on the 'most valuable economic criterium', excluding any other evaluation of the value of medical devices, she ends.

This survey has highlighted the interest in the medical devices sector and the importance of their correct evaluation by policy and decision-makers. Its results demonstrate a growing acknowledgement from the Local Health Authorities and Regions that effective tools for the assessment and management of medical devices are needed.

About EHTI

Since 2007, EHTI is realising the potential of medical technology in Europe by filling the research gap, enabling policymakers to make informed decisions that vastly improve systems' efficiency and quality of life for all. In doing so, the Research Institute also aims to build strong partnerships among leading figures in academia, industry and government. By mobilising the synergies between these partners, it aims at enhancing the production of top-quality research.

Source: EHTI

SOURCE: European Health Technology Institute for Socio-Economic Research (EHTI)

CONTACT: Contact: Rosanna Tarricone, Executive Director EHTI,, +39-0258365481