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Dr. Thomas McCarthy

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Health Care and Life Sciences

Health Policy and Economics At A Glance

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Health policymakers around the world face common difficulties balancing the competing pressures that are being placed on their health systems. Aging populations, changing epidemiology, and advances in medical treatment increase the funding pressures being placed on systems, while patients themselves are becoming more demanding, with higher expectations. At the same time, fiscal pressures limit the extent to which health systems can respond with increased funding. Policymakers have to balance these competing tensions in what is typically a politically visible and key policy area, taking account of other priorities such as ensuring equity in the funding of, and access to, health care.

Improved data, a wider evidence base, and increasing use of market mechanisms make economics a crucial part of health policy development. NERA's Health Care Practice has worked with a range of stakeholders in helping to inform, understand, develop, and respond to policy changes. Recently we have worked closely with governments, hospitals, health care insurers, pharmaceutical companies, trade associations, and pharmacists to support understanding of policy, economic analysis of issues, and strategic advice to support decision making. In part, we draw on our international experience, including learning from successful reform examples and drawing lessons from less successful attempts, and combine this with real experience of working closely with those involved in decision making. We regularly support our work with quantitative assessments, including modeling tools to understand the impact of policy development on health systems.