Eight-year experience of using HTA in drug reimbursement: South Korea

Eun Young Bae, Ji Min Hong, Hye Young Kwon, Suhyun Jang, Hye Jae Lee, Seung Jin Bae, Bong Min Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


This study describes the process and results of drug reimbursement decision-making in South Korea and evaluates its performance from the perspectives of the various stakeholders involved. Data were retrieved from the evaluation report posted on the Health Insurance Review and Assessment Service (HIRA) website. As of 2014, 253 new drugs had been submitted to the HIRA for appraisal. Of these, 175 (69.2%) were recommended in favor of listing and 78 (30.8%) were rejected. Furthermore, 68 of these drugs were deemed clinically improved relative to existing drugs. For those drugs that did not demonstrate clinical superiority (which was most of them), a simple price comparison to the existing drug was utilized as a gate toward listing. On top of the base-line analysis, 104 stakeholders from the industry, academia, public office, and civic society responded to a questionnaire designed to obtain their opinions on the South Korean positive list system (PLS). Stakeholders agreed that the consistency of reimbursement decision-making has improved since 2007, while accessibility to new drugs has apparently decreased. Respondents also indicated a preference toward improved public access to decision-making information. This examination of reimbursement decisions in South Korea will illuminate critical issues for countries that are considering the introduction of similar policies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)612-620
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Policy
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


  • Accountability
  • Drug reimbursement
  • Economic evaluation
  • Health technology assessment
  • South Korea


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