India’s National Health System Cost Database jointly developed by PGI Chandigarh, in partnership with the Government of India’s Department of Health Research was launched during the international symposium on Health Technology Assessment (ISHTA) held on the 10th March in New Delhi. The Symposium was inaugurated by the Vice President of India, Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar, which was presided over by the Health & Family Welfare Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya. This national database provides public access to the cost data that has been collected as a part of the national study on Cost of Health Services in India, led by PGI Chandigarh, and which has been carried out across nearly 90 public and private hospitals across 14 states of India. The Health and Family Welfare minister, Dr Mansukh Mandaviya, in his inaugural address emphasized that the assessments of health care interventions and new health technologies is the need of the hour and highlighted the importance of data on costs and use of HTA as a guide to making decisions for rolling of new healthcare interventions especially in context of emerging countries like India. Along the same lines, the Secretary DHR and Director General ICMR Dr Rajiv Bahl highlighted the need to create much stronger evidence for the cost of healthcare and reiterated the need for building repositories of cost data that should be used for policy-making and research. He also stressed on the need to create greater expertise on health economics.The development of this cost database was led by Dr. Shankar Prinja, who is professor of health economics at the PGI Chandigarh, in collaboration with the Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India and the Centre for Global Development, Europe. Professor Prinja, the principal investigator of this PGI led study, informed that this study has been used extensively for the revision of benefit packages under Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY). The major revision of prices in PM-JAY which was done in 2022, was guided by the findings of this national study. This cost repository is intended for a diverse set of users including researchers as well as policymakers making resource allocation decisions, and setting prices of health care services. This also goes in line with the Government of India’s thrust of transparent sharing of the research data for wider use as a public good.The international symposium with the theme “Affordability, Availability and Accessibility of Healthcare Technologies through Evidence generated by Health Technologies Assessments (HTA) for Universal Health Coverage” brought together multiple stakeholders including policymakers, researchers, academia as well as the industry partners from over 25 countries.
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