Breastfeeding promotion and priority setting in health.
An increase in exclusive breastfeeding prevalence can substantially reduce mortality and morbidity among infants. In this paper, estimates of the costs and impacts of three breastfeeding promotion programmes, implemented through maternity services in Brazil, Honduras and Mexico, are used to develop cost-effectiveness measures and these are compared with other health interventions. The results show that breastfeeding promotion can be one of the most cost-effective health interventions for preventing cases of diarrhoea, preventing deaths from diarrhoea, and gaining disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). The benefits are substantial over a broad range of programme types. Programmes starting with the removal of formula and medications during delivery are likely to derive a high level of impact per unit of net incremental cost. Cost-effectiveness is lower (but still attractive relative to other interventions) if hospitals already have rooming-in and no bottle-feeds; and the cost-effectiveness improves as programmes become well-established. At an annual cost of about 30 to 40 US cents per birth, programmes starting with formula feeding in nurseries and maternity wards can reduce diarrhoea cases for approximately $0.65 to $1.10 per case prevented, diarrhoea deaths for $100 to $200 per death averted, and reduce the burden of disease for approximately $2 to $4 per DALY. Maternity services that have already eliminated formula can, by investing from $2 to $3 per birth, prevent diarrhoea cases and deaths for $3.50 to $6.75 per case, and $550 to $800 per death respectively, with DALYs gained at $12 to $19 each. (+info)
Opening the debate on DALYs (disability-adjusted life years).
The 1993 World Development Report is proving to be an influential document for the development of the health sector policies in developing countries. One important aspect of the Report concerns its proposals for Disability Adjusted Life Years as a measure of health change and hence effectiveness of interventions. This article comments on the use of such measures in the health policy arena. (+info)
A critical review of priority setting in the health sector: the methodology of the 1993 World Development Report.
The 1993 World Development Report, Investing in Health, suggests policies to assist governments of developing countries in improving the health of their populations. A new methodology to improve government spending is introduced. Epidemiological and economic analyses from the basis for a global priority setting exercise, leading to a recommended essential public health and clinical services package for low- and middle-income countries. Ministries of Health in many countries have expressed an interest in designing a national package of essential health services, using the methodology. Given the apparent importance attached to the study and its far reaching potential consequences, this article provides an overview of the method, the main issues and problems in estimating the burden of disease as well as the cost-effectiveness of interventions. Strengths and weaknesses in the databases, value judgements and assumptions are identified, leading to a critical analysis of the validity of the priority setting exercise on the global level. (+info)
Antiviral therapy for neonatal herpes simplex virus: a cost-effectiveness analysis.
Each year, about 1,600 infants in the United States are infected with neonatal herpes simplex virus. We conducted a cost-effectiveness analysis of antiviral drug therapy (acyclovir) for three forms of herpes simplex virus infection: skin, ear, and mouth (SEM), central nervous system (CNS), and disseminated multiorgan (DIS) disease. Five levels of patient outcomes were examined (normal, mild, moderate, severe, dead). We obtained information on disease occurrence and survival from clinical trials and historical reviews of untreated newborns. We considered approaches for treating all or any of the forms of the disease and compared them with no use of antiviral drugs. The main measure of effectiveness was lives saved, including those of descendants of survivors. Costs were measured from a societal perspective and included direct medical costs, institutional care, and special education. We used a discount rate of 3% and valued dollars at 1995 levels. We also considered the perspective of a managed care organization. From a societal viewpoint relative to no treatment, antiviral therapy for SEM resulted in a gain of 0.8 lives and a cost reduction of $78,601 per case. For the treatment of CNS and DIS disease, antiviral therapy saved more lives but at increased cost, with respective marginal costs per additional life saved of $75,125 and $46,619. From a managed care perspective, antiviral therapy is more cost-effective than from a societal viewpoint because costs of institutional care and special education are not the responsibility of managed care organizations. Development of at-home therapies will further improve the cost-effectiveness of antiviral therapy for neonatal herpes simplex virus infection. (+info)
A cost-effectiveness clinical decision analysis model for schizophrenia.
A model was developed to estimate the medical costs and effectiveness outcomes of three antipsychotic treatments (olanzapine, haloperidol, and risperidone) for patients with schizophrenia. A decision analytic Markov model was used to determine the cost-effectiveness of treatments and outcomes that patients treated for schizophrenia may experience over a 5-year period. Model parameter estimates were based on clinical trial data, published medical literature, and, when needed, clinician judgment. Direct medical costs were incorporated into the model, and outcomes were expressed by using three effectiveness indicators: the Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale, quality-adjusted life years, and lack of relapse. Over a 5-year period, patients on olanzapine had an additional 6.8 months in a disability-free health state based on Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale scores and more than 2 additional months in a disability-free health state based on quality-adjusted life years, and they experienced 13% fewer relapses compared with patients on haloperidol. The estimated 5-year medical cost associated with olanzapine therapy was $1,539 less than that for haloperidol therapy. Compared with risperidone therapy, olanzapine therapy cost $1,875 less over a 5-year period. Patients on olanzapine had approximately 1.6 weeks more time in a disability-free health state (based on Brief Psychiatric Rating Scale scores) and 2% fewer relapses compared with patients on risperidone. Sensitivity analyses indicated the model was sensitive to changes in drug costs and shortened hospital stay. Compared with both haloperidol and risperidone therapy, olanzapine therapy was less expensive and provided superior effectiveness outcomes even with conservative values for key parameters such as relapse and discontinuation rates. (+info)
Economic benefits of aggressive lipid lowering: a managed care perspective.
Coronary heart disease (CHD) has high prevalence in the United States and is associated with significant mortality as well as costs to society. Hyperlipidemia is a major and common modifiable risk factor for CHD. In clinical trials, cholesterol-lowering strategies have a dramatic impact on CHD risk, cardiovascular events, and mortality. Cost-effectiveness data have established that clinical and economic benefits are gained by instituting early and aggressive lipid-lowering therapy. We present new evidence for the clinical benefits and cost effectiveness of aggressive lipid-lowering therapy as primary or secondary prevention of CHD and describe strategies that managed care organizations can take to benefit from a lipid management program. (+info)
Willingness to pay in the context of an economic evaluation of healthcare programs: theory and practice.
Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is defined in the methodology literature as a form of economic evaluation in which both costs and consequences are measured in monetary terms. In recent years we have witnessed renewed enthusiasm for CBA and the use of willingness to pay (WTP) as a method of measuring benefits from healthcare providers. Using the economics perspective, this paper assesses the usefulness of the WTP measure in a context of CBA analysis for economic evaluation of healthcare interventions. Starting from the welfarist approach as the foundation of the analysis, this paper evaluates the benefit and cost of using WTP as a measure of outcome compared mainly with the most commonly used measure of outcome (i.e., quality-adjusted life years) as well as a newly suggested measure of outcome (i.e., healthy-years equivalents). This paper studies this issue from both theoretical and practical aspects. The analysis starts with the premise that we want to use the discipline of economics as the mode of thinking and evaluate the methods suggested using economic criteria. A framework that includes five indicators (or criteria) to help identify the measures of outcome that are proper for use in the context of an economic evaluation are described. Following this framework, the paper argues that from a theoretic perspective the WTP approach is the best available measure, despite its limitations. This paper also describes a new instrument that can be used to measure individuals' WTP as well as a recent experience assessing the feasibility of using such an instrument in the context of evaluating a new pharmaceutical agent in a managed care setting. The conclusion of this study is that this technique holds promise as a method that can generate monetary values for program benefits for future use in CBA. (+info)
Preferences for health outcomes and cost-utility analysis.
Economic evaluation of health programs consists of the comparative analysis of alternative courses of action in terms of both costs and consequences. The five analytic techniques are cost-consequence analysis, cost-minimization analysis, cost-effectiveness analysis, cost-utility analysis, and cost-benefit analysis. Although all techniques have the same objective of informing decision making in the health programs, they come from different theoretic backgrounds and relate differently to the discipline of economics. Cost-utility analysis formally incorporates the measured preferences of individuals for the health outcome consequences of the alternative programs. The individuals may be actual patients who are experiencing or have experienced the outcomes, or they may be a representative sample of the community, many of whom may someday face the outcomes. The health outcomes, at the most general level, consist of changes in the quantity and quality of life; that is, changes in mortality and morbidity. Changes in quantity of life are measured with mortality; changes in quality of life are measured with health-related quality-of-life instruments. Utilities represent a particular approach to the measurement of health-related quality of life that is founded on a well specified theory and provides an interval scale metric. Changes in quantity of life, as measured in years, can be combined with changes in quality of life, as measured in utilities, to determine the number of quality-adjusted life years gained by a particular health program. This can be compared with the incremental cost of the program to determine the cost per quality-adjusted life-year gained. Utilities may be measured directly on patients or other respondents by means of techniques such as visual analog scaling, standard gamble, or time trade-off. Utilities may be determined indirectly by means of a preference-weighted multi-attribute health status classification system such as the health utilities index. The health utilities index is actually a complete system for use in studies. It consists of questionnaires in various formats and languages, scoring manuals, and descriptive health status classification systems. The health utilities index is useful in clinical studies and in population health surveys, as well as in cost-utility analyses. (+info)