Surrogate outcomes are a significant challenge in drug evaluation for health technology assessment (HTA) agencies. The research objectives were to: identify factors associated with surrogate use and acceptability in Canada’s Common Drug Review (CDR) recommendations, and compare the CDR with other HTA or regulatory agencies regarding surrogate concerns.
Final recommendations were identified from CDR inception (September 2003) to December 31, 2010. Recommendations were classified by type of outcome (surrogate, final, other) and acceptability of surrogates (determined by the presence/absence of statements of concern regarding surrogates). Descriptive and statistical analyses examined factors related to surrogate use and acceptability. For thirteen surrogate-based submissions, recommendations from international HTA and regulatory agencies were reviewed for statements about surrogate acceptability.
Of 156 final recommendations, 68 (44%) involved surrogates. The overall ‘do not list’ (DNL) rate was 48%; the DNL rate for surrogates was 41% (p = 0.175). The DNL rate was 64% for non-accepted surrogates (n = 28) versus 25% for accepted surrogates (odds ratio 5.4, p = 0.002). Clinical uncertainty, use of economic evidence over price alone, and a premium price were significantly associated with non-accepted surrogates. Surrogates were used most commonly for HIV, diabetes, rare diseases, cardiovascular disease and cancer. For the subset of drugs studied, other HTA agencies did not express concerns for most recommendations, while regulatory agencies frequently stated surrogate acceptance.
The majority of surrogates were accepted at the CDR. Non-accepted surrogates were significantly associated with clinical uncertainty and a DNL recommendation. There was inconsistency of surrogate acceptability across several international agencies. Stakeholders should consider collaboratively establishing guidelines on the use, validation, and acceptability of surrogates.
Reimbursement; Decision-making; Surrogate outcomes; Health technology assessment
Cost of illness studies are needed to provide estimates for input into cost-effectiveness studies and as information drivers to resource allocation. However, these studies often do not differentiate costs associated with the disease of interest and costs of co-morbidities. The goal of this study was to identify the 1-year cost of ischemic stroke compared to the annual cost of care for a comparable non-stroke group of South Carolina (SC) Medicare beneficiaries resulting in a marginal cost estimate.
SC data for 2004 and 2005 were used to estimate the mean 12 month cost of stroke for 2,976 Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized for Ischemic Stroke in 2004. Using nearest neighbor propensity score matching, a control group of non-stroke beneficiaries were matched on age, gender, race, risk factors, and Charlson comorbidity index and their costs were calculated. Marginal cost attributable to ischemic stroke was calculated as the difference between these two adjusted cost estimates.
The total cost estimated for SC stroke patients for 1 year (2004) was $81.3 million. The cost for the matched comparison group without stroke was $54.4 million. Thus, the 2004 marginal costs to Medicare due to Ischemic stroke in SC are estimated to be $26.9 million.
Accurate estimates of cost of care for conditions, such as stroke, that are common in older patients with a high rate of comorbid conditions require the use of a marginal costing approach. Over estimation of cost of care for stroke may lead to prediction of larger savings than realizable from important stroke treatment and prevention programs, which may damage the credibility of program advocates, and jeopardize long term funding support. Additionally, correct cost estimates are needed as inputs for valid cost-effectiveness studies. Thus, it is important to use marginal costing for stroke, especially with the increasing public focus on evidence-based economic decision making to be expected with healthcare reform.
Marginal cost; Attributable cost; Methods; Rehabilitation; Ischemic stroke
The cost of behavior change communication (BCC) interventions has not been rigorously studied in Bangladesh. This study was conducted to assess the implementation costs of a BCC intervention in a maternal, neonatal and child health program (Manoshi) run by BRAC, which has been operating in the urban slums of Dhaka since 2007. The study estimates the costs of BCC tools per exposure among the different types of BCC channels: face-to-face, group counseling, and mass media.
The study was conducted from November 2010 to April 2011 in the Dhaka urban slum area. A micro-costing approach was applied using primary and secondary data sources to estimate the cost of BCC tools. Primary data were collected through interviews with service-providers and managers from the Manoshi program, observations of group counseling, and mass media events.
Per exposure, the cost of face-to-face counseling was found to be 3.08 BDT during pregnancy detection, 3.11 BDT during pregnancy confirmation, 12.42 BDT during antenatal care, 18.96 BDT during delivery care and 22.65 BDT during post-natal care. The cost per exposure of group counseling was 22.71 BDT (95% CI 21.30-24.87) for Expected Date of Delivery (EDD) meetings, 14.25 BDT (95% CI 12.37-16.12) for Women Support Group meetings, 17.83 BDT (95% CI 14.90-20.77) for MNCH committee meetings and 6.62 BDT (95% CI 5.99-7.26) for spouse forum meetings. We found the cost per exposure for mass media interventions was 9.54 BDT (95% CI 7.30-12.53) for folk songs, 26.39 BDT (95% CI 23.26-32.56) for street dramas, 0.39 BDT for TV-broadcasting and 7.87 BDT for billboards. Considering all components reaching the target audience under each broader type of channel, the total cost per exposure was found to be 60.22 BDT (0.82 USD) for face-to-face counseling, 61.40 BDT (0.82 USD) for group counseling and 44.19 BDT (0.61 USD) for mass media.
The total cost for group counseling was the highest per exposure, followed by face-to-face counseling and mass media. The cost per exposure varied substantially across BCC channels due to differences in cost drivers such as personnel, materials and refreshments. The cost per exposure can be valuable for planning and resource allocation related to the implementation of BCC interventions in low resource settings.
Cost; BCC; MNCH-intervention; Micro-costing; Urban-Slum; Dhaka-Bangladesh
South Africa, the country with the largest HIV epidemic worldwide, has been scaling up treatment since 2003 and is rapidly expanding its eligibility criteria. The HIV treatment programme has achieved significant results, and had 1.8 million people on treatment per 2011. Despite these achievements, it is now facing major concerns regarding (i) efficiency: alternative treatment policies may save more lives for the same budget; (ii) equity: there are large inequalities in who receives treatment; (iii) feasibility: still only 52% of the eligible population receives treatment.
Hence, decisions on the design of the present HIV treatment programme in South Africa can be considered suboptimal. We argue there are two fundamental reasons to this. First, while there is a rapidly growing evidence-base to guide priority setting decisions on HIV treatment, its included studies typically consider only one criterion at a time and thus fail to capture the broad range of values that stakeholders have. Second, priority setting on HIV treatment is a highly political process but it seems no adequate participatory processes are in place to incorporate stakeholders’ views and evidences of all sorts.
We propose an alternative approach that provides a better evidence base and outlines a fair policy process to improve priority setting in HIV treatment. The approach integrates two increasingly important frameworks on health care priority setting: accountability for reasonableness (A4R) to foster procedural fairness, and multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) to construct an evidence-base on the feasibility, efficiency, and equity of programme options including trade-offs. The approach provides programmatic guidance on the choice of treatment strategies at various decisions levels based on a sound conceptual framework, and holds large potential to improve HIV priority setting in South Africa.
Antiretroviral therapy; Technology assessment; Program evaluation; Cost-effectiveness; Ethics
Chronic hepatitis C affects approximately 170 million people worldwide, and thus being one of the main causes of chronic liver disease. About 20% of patients with chronic hepatitis C will develop cirrhosis over 20 years, and present an increased risk of developing hepatic complications. Sustained virological response (SVR) is associated with a better prognosis compared to untreated patients and treatment failures.
The objective of this analysis was to compare treatment costs and outcomes of pegylated interferon-alfa-2a versus pegylated interferon-alfa-2b, both associated with ribavirin, in the therapeutic scheme of 24 weeks and 48 week for hepatitis C genotypes 2/3 and genotype 1, respectively, under the Brazilian Public Health System (SUS) scenario.
To project disease progression, a Markov model was built based on clinical stages of chronic disease. A Delphi panel was conducted to evaluate medical resources related to each stage, followed by costing of related materials, services, procedures and pharmaceutical products. The evaluation was made from a public payer perspective. The source used for costing was government reimbursement procedures list (SAI/SIH–SUS). Drug acquisition costs were obtained from the Brazilian Official Gazette and “Banco de Preços em Saúde” (government official source). It was assumed a mean patient weight of 70 kg. Costs were reported in 2011 Brazilian Reais (US$1 ≈ $Brz1.80). A systematic review followed by a meta-analysis of the 7 identified randomized controlled trials (RCTs) which compared pegylated interferons, was conducted for obtaining relative efficacy of both drugs: for genotype 2/3, mean rate of SVR was 79.2% for peginterferon-alfa-2a and 73.8% for peginterferon-alfa-2b. For genotype 1, SVR mean rate was 42.09% versus 33.44% (peginterferon-alfa-2a and peginterferon-alfa-2b respectively). Time horizon considered was lifetime. Discount rate for costs and outcomes was 5%, according to Brazilian guidelines for Health Technology Assessment (HTA).
Analysis showed that peginterferon-alfa-2a is a dominant therapy compared to peginterferon-alfa-2b for genotype 1 ($Brz 4,345 savings and 0.10 LY/0.25 QALY gains) as well for genotype 2/3 ($Brz 8,001 savings and 0.16 LY/0.39 QALY gains). Projections indicated that for each 1000 patients treated with peginterferon-alfa-2a instead of peginterferon-alfa-2b, the amount of resources saved would be of $Brz 4.3 million for genotypes 2/3 and up to $Brz 8 million for genotype 1.
These findings suggest that treatment with peginterferon-alfa-2a is more effective and less costly when compared to peginterferon-alfa-2b under SUS perspective in Brazil.
Chronic hepatitis C; Peginterferon-alfa-2a; Peginterferon-alfa-2b; Cost-effectiveness; Brazil; SUS
To evaluate the cost-effectiveness of growth hormone (GH) treatment (Genotropin®) compared with no GH treatment in adults with GH deficiency in a Swedish societal setting.
A Markov-type cost-utility simulation model was constructed and used to simulate, for men and women, morbidity and mortality for GH-treated and -untreated individuals over a 20-year period. The calculations were performed using current available prices concerning morbidity-related healthcare costs and costs for Genotropin®. All costs and treatment effects were discounted at 3%. Costs were expressed in Euro (1€ = 9.03 SEK). GH-treated Swedish patients (n = 434) were identified from the KIMS database (Pfizer International Metabolic Database) and untreated patients (n = 2135) from the Swedish Cancer Registry and the Hospital Discharge Registry.
The results are reported as incremental cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained, including both direct and indirect costs for GH-treated versus untreated patients. The weighted sum of all subgroup incremental cost per QALY was €15,975 and €20,241 for men and women, respectively. Including indirect cost resulted in lower cost per QALY gained: €11,173 and €10,753 for men and women, respectively. Key drivers of the results were improvement in quality of life, increased survival, and intervention cost.
The incremental cost per QALY gained is moderate when compared with informal thresholds applied in Sweden. The simulations suggest that GH-treatment is cost-effective for both men and women at the €55,371 (SEK 500,000 – the informal Swedish cost-effectiveness threshold) per QALY threshold.
Cost effectiveness; Adults; Growth hormone; QALY
Investment by manufacturers in research and development of vaccines is relatively low compared with that of pharmaceuticals. If current evaluation technologies favour drugs over vaccines, then the vaccines market becomes relatively less attractive to manufacturers.
We developed a mathematical model simulating the decision-making process of regulators and payers, in order to understand manufacturers’ economic incentives to invest in vaccines rather than curative treatments. We analysed the objectives and strategies of manufacturers and payers when considering investment in technologies to combat a disease that affects children, and the interactions between them.
The model confirmed that, for rare diseases, the economically justifiable prices of vaccines could be substantially lower than drug prices, and that, for diseases spread across multiple cohorts, the revenues derived from vaccinating one cohort per year (routine vaccination) could be substantially lower than those generated by treating sick individuals.
Manufacturers may see higher incentives to invest in curative treatments rather than in routine vaccines. To encourage investment in vaccines, health authorities could potentially revise their incentive schemes by: (1) committing to vaccinate all susceptible cohorts in the first year (catch-up campaign); (2) choosing a long-term horizon for health technology evaluation; (3) committing higher budgets for vaccines than for treatments; and (4) taking into account all intangible values derived from vaccines.
Incentives; Vaccines; Drugs; Research and development; Investment; Net present value
In economic evaluation, cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) is generally used as an indicator for cost-effectiveness. Although JPY 5 million to 6 million (USD 60, 000 to 75,000) per QALY is frequently referred to as a threshold in Japan, do all QALYs have the same monetary value?
To examine the relationship between severity of health status and monetary value of a QALY, we obtained willingness to pay (WTP) values for one additional QALY in eight patterns of health states. We randomly sampled approximately 2,400 respondents from an online panel. To avoid misunderstanding, we randomly allocated respondents to one of 16 questionnaires, with 250 responses expected for each pattern. After respondents were asked whether they wanted to purchase the treatment, double-bounded dichotomous choice method was used to obtain WTP values.
The results clearly show that the WTP per QALY is higher for worse health states than for better health states. The slope was about JPY −1 million per 0.1 utility score increase. The mean and median WTP values per QALY for 16 health states were JPY 5 million, consistent with our previous survey. For respondents who wanted to purchase the treatment, WTP values were significantly correlated with household income.
This survey shows that QALY based on the EQ-5D does not necessarily have the same monetary value. The WTP per QALY should range from JPY 2 million (USD 20,000) to JPY 8 million (USD 80,000), corresponding to the severity of health states.
Quality-adjusted life years; Willingness-to-pay; Threshold; Cost-effectiveness analysis
A recently developed 10-valent pneumococcal non-typeable H influenzae protein D-conjugate vaccine (PHiD-CV) is expected to afford protection against more than two thirds of isolates causing IPD in children in Latin America, and also against acute otitis media caused by both Spn and NTHi. The objective of this study is to assess the cost-effectiveness of PHiD-CV in comparison to non-vaccination in children under 10 years of age in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.
We used a static, deterministic, compartmental simulation model. The dosing regimen considered included three vaccine doses (at 2 months, 4 months and 6 months) and a booster dose (at 13 months) (3 + 1 schedule). Model outcomes included number of cases prevented, deaths averted, quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) gained and costs. Discount for costs and benefits of long term sequelae was done at 3.5%, and currency reported in 2008-2009 U$S varying between countries.
The largest effect in case prevention was observed in pneumococcal meningitis (from 27% in Peru to 47% in Colombia), neurologic sequelae after meningitis (from 38% in Peru to 65% in Brazil) and bacteremia (from 42% in Argentina to 49% in Colombia). The proportion of predicted deaths averted annually ranged from 18% in Peru to 33% in Brazil. Overall, the health benefits achieved with PHiD-CV vaccination resulted in a lower QALY loss (from 15% lower in Peru to 26% in Brazil). At a cost of USD 20 per vaccine dose, vaccination was cost-effective in all countries, from being cost saving in Chile to a maximum Incremental Cost-effectiveness Ratio of 7,088 US$ Dollars per QALY gained. Results were robust in the sensitivity analysis, and scenarios with indirect costs affected results more than those with herd immunity.
The incorporation of the 10-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine into routine infant immunization programs in Latin American countries could be a cost-effective strategy to improve infant population health in the region.
Clinical trials have indicated that lifestyle interventions for patients with lifestyle-related cardiovascular and diabetes risk factors (the metabolic syndrome) are cost-effective. However, patient characteristics in primary care practice vary considerably, i.e. they exhibit heterogeneity in risk factors. The cost-effectiveness of lifestyle interventions is likely to differ over heterogeneous patient groups.
Patients (62 men, 80 women) in the Kalmar Metabolic Syndrome Program (KMSP) in primary care (Kalmar regional healthcare area, Sweden) were divided into three groups reflecting different profiles of metabolic risk factors (low, middle and high risk) and gender. A Markov model was used to predict future cardiovascular disease and diabetes, including complications (until age 85 years or death), with health effects measured as QALYs and costs from a societal perspective in Euro (EUR) 2012, discounted 3%. Simulations with risk factor levels at start and at 12 months follow-up were performed for each group, with an assumed 4-year sustainability of intervention effects.
The program was estimated cost-saving for middle and high risk men, while the incremental cost vs. do-nothing varied between EUR 3,500 – 18,000 per QALY for other groups. There is heterogeneity in the cost-effectiveness over the risk groups but this does not affect the overall conclusion on the cost-effectiveness of the KMSP. Even the highest ICER (for high risk women) is considered moderately cost-effective in Sweden. The base case result was not sensitive to alternative data and methodology but considerably affected by sustainability assumptions. Alternative risk stratifications did not change the overall conclusion that KMSP is cost-effective. However, simple grouping with average risk factor levels over gender groups overestimate the cost-effectiveness.
Lifestyle counseling to prevent metabolic diseases is cost-effective in Swedish standard primary care settings. The use of risk stratification in the cost-effectiveness analysis established that the program was cost-effective for all patient groups, even for those with very high levels of lifestyle-related risk factors for the metabolic syndrome diseases. Heterogeneity in the cost-effectiveness of lifestyle interventions in primary care patients is expected, and should be considered in health policy decisions.
Cost-effectiveness; Markov model; Metabolic syndrome; Lifestyle counseling; Primary care
As care and antiretroviral treatment (ART) for people living with HIV/AIDS become widely available, the number of people accessing these resources also increases. Despite this exceptional progress, the estimated coverage in low- and middle-income countries is still less than half of all people who need treatment. In addition, treatment discontinuation and non-adherence are still concerns for ART programs. Governments and partner institutions have sought to implement a variety of interventions addressing the main reasons behind the low coverage of, discontinuation of, and non-adherence to ART. Food assistance is one of those interventions; increasing evidence suggests that this type of intervention has the potential to improve ART outcomes. However, to our knowledge, no study has estimated its costs in detail. The objective of this study was to assess the costs of a program providing food assistance to HIV/AIDS patients in Sofala province, Mozambique, in 2009.
We performed a retrospective analysis of the costs of providing food assistance, based on financial and economic costs. We used the ingredients approach to estimate costs, which involved multiplying the total estimated quantities of goods and services actually employed in providing the intervention by their respective unit prices.
In 2009, the cost of providing food assistance to HIV/AIDS patients was $2.27 million, with capital and recurrent costs accounting for 1% and 99% of total costs, respectively. Food made up the largest component, at 49% of total costs. At 24%, transport operating costs were the second largest item. The cost per patient served was $288 over 3 months.
The food distribution program carries significant costs. To assess whether it provides value for money, the present study results should be interpreted in conjunction with the program’s impact, and in comparison with other programs that aim to improve adherence to ART. Our costing analysis revealed important management information, indicating that the program incurred relatively large overhead costs. This result raises questions regarding the efficiency of implementing this food distribution program.
ART; HIV/AIDS; Food assistance; Costs
Disability-adjusted-life-years lost (DALYs) is a common outcome metric for cost-effectiveness analyses, and the equations used for such calculations have been presented previously by Fox-Rushby and Hanson (see, e.g., “Health Policy and Planning 16:326–331, 2001”). While the equations are clear, the logic behind them is opaque at best for a large share of public health practitioners and students. The objective of this paper is to show how to calculate DALYs using a discrete time formulation that is easy to teach to students and public health practitioners, is easy to apply for those with basic discounting skills, and is consistent with the discounting methods typically included on the costing side of cost-effectiveness analysis. A continuous-time adjustment factor is derived that can be used to ensure exact consistency between the continuous and discrete time approaches, but this level of precision is typically unnecessary for cost-effectiveness analyses. To illustrate the approach, both a new, simple example and the same example presented in Fox-Rushby and Hanson are used throughout the paper.
Disability adjusted life years lost; Discrete time; Cost-effectiveness
Policy-makers who are making decisions on sexuality education programs face important economic questions: what are the costs of developing sexuality education programs; and what are the costs of implementing and scaling them up? This study responds to these questions by assessing the costs of six school-based sexuality education programs (Nigeria, Kenya, Indonesia, India, Estonia and the Netherlands).
Cost analyses were carried out in schools that were fully implementing a SE program, as this best reflects the resources needed to run an effective program. The costs were analyzed from the program perspective, meaning that all costs borne by the governmental and (international) non-governmental organizations supporting the program were included. Cost analyses were based on financial records, interviews and school surveys.
We distinguished costs in three consecutive program phases: development, update and implementation. Recommendations on the most efficient program characteristics and scale-up pathways were drawn from results of three fully scaled up programs (Estonia, Nigeria and the Netherlands), scale-up scenarios of two pilot programs (Kenya and Indonesia), and an implementation plan (India), The costs of the programs were compared by converting cost per student reached in US dollars (US$) to international dollars (I$).
Findings revealed a range of costs and coverage of sexuality education programs. Costs per student reached were; US$7 in Nigeria, US$13.50 in India, US$33 in Estonia and the Netherlands, US$50 in Kenya, and US$160 in Indonesia.
Intra-curricular sexuality education programs have, because of their compulsory nature, the most potential to be scaled up and are therefore most efficient. Extra-curricular sexuality education programs have lower potential to be scaled up and are therefore less efficient. In terms of class size and number of lessons, countries need to strike a balance between the quality (demanding smaller classes and many lessons) and the costs (demanding larger classes and fewer lessons). Advocacy was a significant cost component.
Sexuality education; Sexual health; School-based; Cost; Scale-up; HIV prevention
Chemotherapy-induced anaemia is a common and significant complication of chemotherapy treatment. Blood transfusion and administration of Erythropoiesis-Stimulating Agents (ESAs) either alone or in combination with iron are the most widely used therapeutic options. In Greece, ESAs are among the top ten therapeutic groups with the highest pharmaceutical expenditure, since they are fully reimbursed by social security funds. The objective of the study is to determine potential cost savings related with the use of biosimilar over originator ESAs for the management of the newly diagnosed chemotherapy-induced anemic patients.
A budget impact analysis has been carried through the elaboration of national epidemiological, clinical and economic data. Epidemiological data derived from WHO (GLOBOCAN) and the European Cancer Anaemia Survey. Clinical data reflect oncology patients’ disease management. ESAs consumption was based on data from the biggest social security fund (IKA). The administration of ESAs under different dosing schemes and time periods has been estimated by separating them in originators and biosimilars as well as by classifying anaemic patients in responders and non-responders. Cost analysis is based on newly diagnosed patients’ alternative treatment scenarios. Treatment costs and prices are used in 2012 values. The Social Security Funds’s perspective was undertaken.
Based on the annual incidence rates, 2.551 newly diagnosed chemotherapy-induced anemic patients are expected to be treated with ESAs. Average cost of treatment on originators ESAs for responders is €2.887 for the 15-week ESAs treatment and €5.019 for non-responders, while on biosimilars €2.623 and €4.009 respectively. Treatment cost on biosimilars is 10.1% lower than originators for responders and 25.2% for non-responders. Budget impact estimates show that treating anemic patients with originator ESAs was estimated at €10.084.800 compared to €8.460.119 when biosimilar ESAs were used, leading to an overall 19,20% cost reduction favoring biosimilars.
In Greece, the treatment on biosimilar ESAs seems to be a cost saving option over originators for the newly diagnosed chemotherapy-induced anemic patients, since it corresponds to 5% of the annual overall consumption and expands patients’ access to ESAs treatment. Health care decision making should rely on evidence based treatments in order to achieve social funds’ sustainability in an era of economic recession.
Budget impact; Biosimilars; Erythropoiesis Stimulating agents (ESAs); Greece
Knowledge about the prices of medicines used in hospitals, particularly the actually achieved ones, is scant. There are indications of large discounts and the provision of medicines cost-free to Austrian hospitals. The study aims to survey the official and actual prices of medicines procured by Austrian hospitals and to compare them to the out-patient prices.
Primary price collection of the official hospital list prices and the actually achieved prices for 12 active ingredients as of the end of September 2009 in five general hospitals in Austria and analysis of the 15 most commonly used presentations.
The official hospital list prices per unit differed considerably (from 1,500 Euro for an oncology medicine to 0.20 Euro for a generic cardiovascular medicine). For eight on-patent medicines (indications: oncology, anti-inflammatory, neurology-multiple sclerosis and blood) actual hospital medicine prices equaled the list prices (seven medicines) or were lower (one medicine) in four hospitals, whereas one hospital always reported higher actual prices due to the application of a wholesale mark-up. The actual hospital prices of seven medicines (cardiology and immunomodulation) were below the official hospital prices in all hospitals; of these all cardiovascular medicines were provided free-of-charge. Hospital prices were always lower than out-patient prices (pharmacy retail price net and reimbursement price).
The results suggest little headroom for hospitals to negotiate price reductions for “monopoly products”, i.e. medicines with no therapeutic alternative. Discounts and cost-free provision (loss leaders) appear to be granted for products of strategic importance for suppliers, e.g. cardiovascular medicines, whose treatment tends to be continued in primary care after discharge of the patient.
Medicine prices; Pharmaceutical policy; Hospital; Discount; Cost-free medicines; Austria
This paper examines the cost of quality improvements in Population Services International (PSI) Myanmar’s social franchise operations from 2007 to 2009.
The social franchise commodities studied were products for reproductive health, malaria, STIs, pneumonia, and diarrhea. This project applied ingredients based costing for labor, supplies, transport, and overhead. Data were gathered seven during key informant interviews with staff in the central Yangon office, examination of 3 years of payroll data, examination of a time motion study conducted by PSI, and spreadsheets recording the costs of acquiring and transporting supplies.
In 2009 PSI Myanmar’s social franchise devoted $2.02 million towards a 94% reduction in commodity prices offered to its network of over 1700 primary care providers. These providers retained 1/3 of the subsidy as revenue and passed along the other 2/3 to their patients in the course of offering subsidized care for 1.5 million health episodes. In addition, PSI Myanmar devoted $2.09 million to support a team of franchise officers who conducted quality assurance for the private providers overseeing service quality and to distributing medical commodities.
In Myanmar, the social franchise operated by PSI spends roughly $1.00 in quality management and retailing for every $1.00 spent subsidizing medical commodities. Some services are free, but patients also pay fees for other lines of service. Overall patients contribute 1/6 as much as PSI does. Unlike other NGO’s, health services in social franchises like PSI are not all free to the patients, nor are the discounts uniformly applied. Discounts and subsidies evolve in response to public health concerns, market demand, providers’ cost structures as well as strategic objectives in maintaining the network and its portfolio of services.
Costing; Social franchise; Myanmar; Burma
COPD is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). To determine the clinical factors associated with the cost of COPD management, we analyzed the relationship between clinical characteristics and COPD healthcare costs at the Cincinnati VAMC.
We queried the VHA Decision Support System for patients diagnosed with COPD at the Cincinnati VAMC and calculated their VHA COPD-related encounters and costs in FY2008. Patients were ranked by COPD-related cost. We determined the detailed clinical characteristics of patients selected by modified systematic sampling and performed univariate and multivariable ordinary linear regression analysis to determine factors associated with cost.
3263 Veterans had 11,869 encounters with a primary or secondary diagnosis of COPD: 10,032 clinic visits, 505 emergency department (ED) visits, and 1,332 hospitalizations and incurred a total COPD-related healthcare cost of $21.4 M: $2.4 M clinic visits, $0.21 M ED visits, and $18.7 M hospitalizations and $0.89 M for COPD-related prescription costs. When the patients were ranked by VHA healthcare costs, the top 20% of patients accounted for 86% of the total costs and 57% of the total encounters with a primary or secondary diagnosis code of COPD and 90% of the total costs and 75% of the total encounters with a primary diagnosis code of COPD. The clinical characteristics and VHA healthcare costs of 840 of the 3263 unique individuals with COPD were analyzed to determine those characteristics associated with increased COPD-related costs. Univariate analysis showed significant associations with 24 clinical variables; the 4 most highly associated factors were nursing home residence, total hospital admissions, use of oral corticosteroids, and supplemental oxygen (p < 0.001 for all). In multivariate analysis, total number of admissions (p < 0.001), management by a pulmonologist (p < 0.001), number of clinic visits (p < 0.001), use of short acting anticholinergic (p = 0.001), forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) (p = 0.011), number of prescriptions (p = 0.011), body mass index (BMI) (p = 0.025), and use of inhaled corticosteroid (p = 0.043) were associated with COPD management cost.
The total number of admissions, clinic visits, physiologic impairment, BMI, number of medications, and type of provider are strongly associated with the total cost of COPD management. These factors may be used to focus COPD management toward patients with the potential for high utilization of healthcare resources.
COPD; Veterans healthcare administration; Healthcare utilization; Cost
Non-adherence to anti-psychotics is common, expensive and affects recovery. We therefore examine the cost-effectiveness of adherence therapy for people with schizophrenia by multi-centre randomised trial in Amsterdam, London, Leipzig and Verona.
Participants received 8 sessions of adherence therapy or health education. We measured lost productivity and use of health/social care, criminal justice system and informal care at baseline and one year to estimate and compare mean total costs from health/social care and societal perspectives. Outcomes were the Short Form 36 (SF-36) mental component score (MCS) and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) gained (SF-36 and EuroQoL 5 dimension (EQ5D)). Cost-effectiveness was examined for all cost and outcome combinations using cost-effectiveness acceptability curves (CEACs).
409 participants were recruited. There were no cost or outcome differences between adherence therapy and health education. The probability of adherence therapy being cost-effective compared to health education was between 0.3 and 0.6 for the six cost-outcome combinations at the willingness to pay thresholds we examined.
Adherence therapy appears equivalent to health education. It is unclear whether it would have performed differently against a treatment as usual control, whether such an intervention can impact on quality of life in the short-term, or whether it is likely to be cost-effective in some sites but not others.
Trial registration: Current Controlled Trials
Cost effectiveness; Quality-adjusted life year; Antipsychotic; Adherence; Schizophrenia; Psychological therapy
As fiscal constraints dominate health policy discussions across Canada and globally, priority-setting exercises are becoming more common to guide the difficult choices that must be made. In this context, it becomes highly desirable to have accurate estimates of the value of specific health care interventions.
Economic evaluation is a well-accepted method to estimate the value of health care interventions. However, economic evaluation has significant limitations, which have lead to an increase in the use of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA). One key concern with MCDA is the availability of the information necessary for implementation. In the Fall 2011, the Canadian Physiotherapy Association embarked on a project aimed at providing a valuation of physiotherapy services that is both evidence-based and relevant to resource allocation decisions. The framework selected for this project was MCDA. We report on how we addressed the challenge of obtaining some of the information necessary for MCDA implementation.
MCDA criteria were selected and areas of physiotherapy practices were identified. The building up of the necessary information base was a three step process. First, there was a literature review for each practice area, on each criterion. The next step was to conduct interviews with experts in each of the practice areas to critique the results of the literature review and to fill in gaps where there was no or insufficient literature. Finally, the results of the individual interviews were validated by a national committee to ensure consistency across all practice areas and that a national level perspective is applied.
Despite a lack of research evidence on many of the considerations relevant to the estimation of the value of physiotherapy services (the criteria), sufficient information was obtained to facilitate MCDA implementation at the local level.
The results of this research project serve two purposes: 1) a method to obtain information necessary to implement MCDA is described, and 2) the results in terms of information on the benefits provided by each of the twelve areas of physiotherapy practice can be used by decision-makers as a starting point in the implementation of MCDA at the local level.
Physiotherapy; MCDA; Resource Allocation; Priority Setting
Recent analyses show that donor funding for child health is increasing, but little information is available on actual costs to deliver child health care services. Understanding how unit costs scale with service volume in Malawi can help planners allocate budgets as health services expand.
Data on facility level inputs and outputs were collected at 24 health centres in four districts of Malawi visiting a random sample of government and a convenience sample of Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM) health centres. In the cost function, total outputs, quality, facility ownership, average salaries and case mix are used to predict total cost. Regression analysis identifies marginal cost as the coefficient relating cost to service volume intensity.
The marginal cost per patient seen for all health centres surveyed was US$ 0.82 per additional patient visit. Average cost was US$ 7.16 (95% CI: 5.24 to 9.08) at government facilities and US$ 10.36 (95% CI: 4.92 to 15.80) at CHAM facilities per child seen for any service. The first-line anti-malarial drug accounted for over 30% of costs, on average, at government health centres. Donors directly financed 40% and 21% of costs at government and CHAM health centres, respectively. The regression models indicate higher total costs are associated with a greater number of outpatient visits but that many health centres are not providing services at optimal volume given their inputs. They also indicate that CHAM facilities have higher costs than government facilities for similar levels of utilization.
We conclude by discussing ways in which efficiency may be improved at health centres. The first option, increasing the total number of patients seen, appears difficult given existing high levels of child utilization; increasing the volume of adult patients may help spread fixed and semi-fixed costs. A second option, improving the quality of services, also presents difficulties but could also usefully improve performance.
Cost function; Efficiency; Malawi; Primary health care
To investigate the cost effectiveness of management of patients within the context of a multidisciplinary team (MDT) meeting in cancer and non-cancer teams in secondary care.
EMBASE, MEDLINE, NHS EED, CINAHL, EconLit, Cochrane Library, and NHS HMIC.
Eligibility criteria for selecting studies
Randomised controlled trials (RCTs), cohort, case–control, before and after and cross-sectional study designs including an economic evaluation of management decisions made in any disease in secondary care within the context of an MDT meeting.
Two independent reviewers extracted data and assessed methodological quality using the Consensus on Health Economic Criteria (CHEC-list). MDTs were defined by evidence of two characteristics: decision making requiring a minimum of two disciplines; and regular meetings to discuss diagnosis, treatment and/or patient management, occurring at a physical location or by teleconferencing. Studies that reported on the costs of administering, preparing for, and attending MDT meetings and/or the subsequent direct medical costs of care, non-medical costs, or indirect costs, and any health outcomes that were relevant to the disease being investigated were included and classified as cancer or non-cancer MDTs.
Fifteen studies (11 RCTs in non-cancer care, 2 cohort studies in cancer and non-cancer care, and 2 before and after studies in cancer and non cancer care) were identified, all with a high risk of bias. Twelve papers reported the frequency of meetings which varied from daily to three monthly and all reported the number of disciplines included (mean 5, range 2 to 9). The results from all studies showed mixed effects; a high degree of heterogeneity prevented a meta-analysis of findings; and none of the studies reported how the potential savings of MDT working may offset the costs of administering, preparing for, and attending MDT meetings.
Current evidence is insufficient to determine whether MDT working is cost-effective or not in secondary care. Further studies aimed at understanding the key aspects of MDT working that lead to cost-effective cancer and non-cancer care are required.
Multidisciplinary teams; Cost-effective; Secondary care
Economic evaluations of health interventions pose a particular challenge for reporting. There is also a need to consolidate and update existing guidelines and promote their use in a user friendly manner. The Consolidated Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards (CHEERS) statement is an attempt to consolidate and update previous health economic evaluation guidelines efforts into one current, useful reporting guidance. The primary audiences for the CHEERS statement are researchers reporting economic evaluations and the editors and peer reviewers assessing them for publication.
The need for new reporting guidance was identified by a survey of medical editors. A list of possible items based on a systematic review was created. A two round, modified Delphi panel consisting of representatives from academia, clinical practice, industry, government, and the editorial community was conducted. Out of 44 candidate items, 24 items and accompanying recommendations were developed. The recommendations are contained in a user friendly, 24 item checklist. A copy of the statement, accompanying checklist, and this report can be found on the ISPOR Health Economic Evaluations Publication Guidelines Task Force website (http://www.ispor.org/TaskForces/EconomicPubGuidelines.asp).
We hope CHEERS will lead to better reporting, and ultimately, better health decisions. To facilitate dissemination and uptake, the CHEERS statement is being co-published across 10 health economics and medical journals. We encourage other journals and groups, to endorse CHEERS. The author team plans to review the checklist for an update in five years.
Musculoskeletal disorders impose a substantial economic burden on American society, but few studies have examined the economic benefits associated with treating such disorders. The purpose of this research is to estimate the indirect economic implications of activity limitations associated with musculoskeletal disorders and to quantifying the potential economic gains from elective surgery to treat arthritis of the knee and hip.
Using regression analysis with the National Health Interview Survey (2004-2010 data, n=185,829 adults) we quantify the relationship between severity of activity limitations (walking, sitting, standing, etc.) and employment, household income, missed work days, and receipt of supplemental security income for disability. Activity limitations are combined to create an index similar to the Functional Ability Index from the Short Form 36 Health Questionnaire (SF-36) often used in clinical trials to measure patient functional mobility. This index is included in the regression analyses. We use data from published, prospective clinical trials to establish the improvement in patient functional ability following surgery to treat arthritis of the knee and hip.
Improved physical function is associated with higher likelihood of employment, higher household income and fewer missed work days for those who are employed, and reduced likelihood of receiving supplemental security income for disability. The magnitude of the impact and statistical significance vary by activity limitation and severity. Each percentage point increase in the index value is associated with a 2-percentage-point increase in the odds of being employed, a 3-percentage-point-day decline in work days missed and an additional $180 in annual household income if employed, and a 2-percentage-point decline in the odds of receiving supplemental security income for disability. All estimates are statistically significant at the 0.05 level.
Using a large, representative sample of non-institutionalized adults in the U.S., we find that physical activity limitations are associated with worse economic outcomes across multiple economic metrics. Combined with estimates of improved functional ability following knee and hip surgery, we quantify some of the economic benefits of surgery for arthritis of the knee and hip. This information helps improve understanding of the societal benefits of medical treatment for musculoskeletal conditions.
The increasing prevalence of psychological health problems among adolescent girls is alarming. Knowledge of beneficial effects of physical activity on psychological health is widespread. Dance is a popular form of exercise that could be a protective factor in preventing and treating symptoms of depression. The aim of this study was to assess the cost-effectiveness of a dance intervention in addition to usual school health services for adolescent girls with internalizing problems, compared with usual school health services alone.
A cost-utility analysis from a societal perspective based on a randomized controlled intervention trial was performed. The setting was a city in central Sweden with a population of 130 000. A total of 112 adolescent girls, 13–18 years old, with internalizing problems participated in the study. They were randomly assigned to intervention (n = 59) or control (n = 53) group. The intervention comprised dance twice weekly during eight months in addition to usual school health services. Costs for the stakeholder of the intervention, treatment effect and healthcare costs were considered. Gained quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) were used to measure the effects. Quality of life was measured with the Health Utility Index Mark 3. Cost-effectiveness ratios were based on the changes in QALYs and net costs for the intervention group compared with the control group. Likelihood of cost-effectiveness was calculated.
At 20 months, quality of life had increased by 0.08 units more in the intervention group than in the control group (P = .04), translating to 0.10 gained QALYs. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio was USD $3,830 per QALY and the likelihood of cost-effectiveness was 95%.
Intervention with dance twice weekly in addition to usual school health services may be considered cost-effective compared with usual school health services alone, for adolescent girls with internalizing problems.
Name of the trial registry: “Influencing Adolescent Girls’ With Creative Dance Twice Weekly”
Trial registration number: NCT01523561
Internalizing problems; Adolescent girls; Physical activity; Dance; Cost-utility analysis
Rapid changes in lifestyle have led to a global obesity epidemic. Understanding the economic burden associated with the obesity epidemic is essential to decision making of cost-effective interventions. This study reviewed costs of obesity and intervention programs in Canada, assessed the scope and quality of existing cost analyses, and identified implications for economic evaluations and public health decision makers.
A systematic search of costs associated with obesity or intervention program in Canada between 1990 and 2011 yielded 10 English language articles eligible for review.
The majority of studies was prevalence-based or top-down costing; 40% had excellent quality assessed using the Quality of Health Economic Study scale. The aggregated annual costs of obesity in Canada ranged from 1.27 to 11.08 billion dollars. Direct costs accounted for 37.2% to 54.5% of total annual costs. Between 2.2% and 12.0% of Canada's total health expenditures were attributable to obesity. The average annual physician cost of overweight male ($ 427) and female ($ 578) adults was lower than that of obese male ($ 475) and female ($ 682) adults; this cost differential across weight status groups was comparable to that found in adolescents. The cost for implementation and maintenance of a school-based obesity prevention program was $ 23 per student.
We observed high costs associated with overweight and obesity and modest costs for obesity prevention programs; however, no cost-effectiveness study of obesity interventions has been performed in Canada. Cost-effectiveness analyses of preventive programs that constitute incidence-based life-time modeling of costs and health outcomes from societal perspective are urgently needed.
Obesity; Overweight; Economic; Cost; Intervention; Canada