Is IQWiG's 15% Threshold Universally Applicable in Assessing the Clinical Relevance of Patient-Reported Outcomes Changes?

Published Aug 2022


Schlichting M, Hennig M, Rudell K , et al. Is IQWiG's 15% threshold universally applicable in assessing the clinical relevance of patient-reported outcomes changes? An ISPOR Special Interest Group Report. Value Health. 2022; 25(9):1463–1468.


This article discusses a recent methodological change to assess the additional benefit of drug intervention by the German Federal Joint Committee (Gemeinsamer Bundesausschuss), a key stakeholder in EUnetHTA21 (European Network for Health Technology Assessment joint consortium for future EU HTA regulation), methodological workstream. The German Federal Joint Committee (Gemeinsamer Bundesausschuss) set a universal individual response threshold at ≥ 15% of the scale range of the measurement instrument, for all patient-reported outcomes, to achieve an additional benefit rating for a given pharmaceutical intervention. This approach is originally based on a corresponding recommendation from the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWIG).

The merits of this approach are reviewed from various perspectives, including the evidence basis, statistical and psychometric considerations, and regulatory perspectives by the ISPOR Clinical Outcomes Assessment Special Interest Group’s multi- stakeholder group of authors (academia, contract research organizations, and industry). Particular focus is placed on the patient perspective within the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care approach.

The article development incorporated feedback from ISPOR members during well-attended ISPOR US and European conference presentations and 2 formal rounds of written review. The authors concluded that the ≥ 15% response threshold is incongruent with previously defined and scientifically established thresholds and is not well-suited for universal implementation. Further scientific evidence and discussion among all stakeholders are needed, especially should this universal rule be considered in the context of future joint clinical assessments of health technologies in the European Union scheduled from 2025 onward.

Keywords: clinical relevance, health technology assessment, Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care methods, minimal important difference, patient-reported outcomes, IQWiG.

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