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Replication of Published Health Economic Obesity Models: Assessment of Facilitators, Hurdles and Reproduction Success


  • Björn Schwander

    (Maastricht University
    AHEAD GmbH-Agency for Health Economic Assessment and Dissemination)

  • Mark Nuijten

    (a2m-Ars Accessus Medica)

  • Silvia Evers

    (Maastricht University
    Trimbos Institute-Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction)

  • Mickaël Hiligsmann

    (Maastricht University)


Objectives This research aims to (1) replicate published health economic models, (2) compare reproduced results with original results, (3) identify facilitators and hurdles to model replicability and determine reproduction success, and (4) suggest model replication reporting standards to enhance model reproducibility, in the context of health economic obesity models. Methods Four health economic obesity models simulating an adult UK population were identified, selected for replication, and evaluated using the Consolidated Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards (CHEERS) checklist. Reproduction results were compared to original results, focusing on cost-effectiveness outcomes, and the resulting reproduction success was assessed by published criteria. Replication facilitators and hurdles were identified and transferred into related reporting standards. Results All four case studies were state-transition models simulating costs and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs). Comparing original versus reproduction outcomes, the following deviation ranges were observed: costs − 3.9 to 16.1% (mean over all model simulations 3.78%), QALYs − 3.7 to 2.1% (mean − 0.11%), and average cost-utility ratios − 3.0 to 17.9% (mean 4.28%). Applying different published criteria, an overall reproduction success was observed for three of four models. Key replication facilitators were input data tables and model diagrams, while missing standard deviations and missing formulas for equations were considered as key hurdles. Conclusions This study confirms the feasibility of rebuilding health economic obesity models, but minor to major assumptions were needed to fill reporting gaps. Model replications can help to assess the quality of health economic model documentation and can be used to validate current model reporting practices. Simple changes to actual CHEERS reporting criteria may solve identified replication hurdles.

Suggested Citation

  • Björn Schwander & Mark Nuijten & Silvia Evers & Mickaël Hiligsmann, 2021. "Replication of Published Health Economic Obesity Models: Assessment of Facilitators, Hurdles and Reproduction Success," PharmacoEconomics, Springer, vol. 39(4), pages 433-446, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:pharme:v:39:y:2021:i:4:d:10.1007_s40273-021-01008-7
    DOI: 10.1007/s40273-021-01008-7

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    Blog mentions

    As found by, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Journal round-up: PharmacoEconomics 39(4)
      by Chris Sampson in The Academic Health Economists' Blog on 2021-06-15 06:00:05


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    Cited by:

    1. Ana Cecilia Quiroga Gutierrez & Daniel J. Lindegger & Ala Taji Heravi & Thomas Stojanov & Martin Sykora & Suzanne Elayan & Stephen J. Mooney & John A. Naslund & Marta Fadda & Oliver Gruebner, 2023. "Reproducibility and Scientific Integrity of Big Data Research in Urban Public Health and Digital Epidemiology: A Call to Action," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 20(2), pages 1-15, January.

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