Cost-effectiveness of drugs may vary across borders

04/14/05

April 14, 2005 A study published in the journal Value in Health reviews variations in estimates of cost-effectiveness of pharmaceuticals from country to country. Data showed that the results seen in one country are not necessarily applicable in another and that decision makers need to interpret data from other countries very carefully.

This research was conducted within and across multiple countries in Western Europe to assess the generalizability of the cost-effectiveness of new pharmaceuticals. While health results of clinical studies of drugs tend to be transferable from one area to the next, the cost-effectiveness of drugs is dependent on location. This information is becoming increasingly important to healthcare policy makers.

"Because the healthcare systems in different countries vary considerably, we shouldn't automatically assume that a new drug that gives good value for money in one country will do so an another," states Professor Michael Drummond, co-author of the study. Study results emphasized the fact that economic evaluations in one country give little basis on which to predict cost-effectiveness across borders.

Factors affecting the variations include demography and epidemiology of disease, difference in clinical practice patterns, and differences in relative prices cross-country. This variability is a particular concern for decision makers, those conducting economic studies and particularly pharmaceutical manufacturers, who may have to consider repeating studies in every possible setting.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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