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Whither trial‐based economic evaluation for health care decision making?

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  • Mark J. Sculpher
  • Karl Claxton
  • Mike Drummond
  • Chris McCabe

Abstract

The randomised controlled trial (RCT) has developed a central role in applied cost‐effectiveness studies in health care as the vehicle for analysis. This paper considers the role of trial‐based economic evaluation in this era of explicit decision making. It is argued that any framework for economic analysis can only be judged insofar as it can inform two key decisions and be consistent with the objectives of a health care system subject to its resource constraints. The two decisions are, firstly, whether to adopt a health technology given existing evidence and, secondly, an assessment of whether more evidence is required to support this decision in the future. It is argued that a framework of economic analysis is needed which can estimate costs and effects, based on all the available evidence, relating to the full range of possible alternative interventions and clinical strategies, over an appropriate time horizon and for specific patient groups. It must also enable the accumulated evidence to be synthesised in an explicit and transparent way in order to fully represent the decision uncertainty. These requirements suggest that, in most circumstances, the use of a single RCT as a vehicle for economic analysis will be an inadequate and partial basis for decision making. It is argued that RCT evidence, with or without economic content, should be viewed as simply one of the sources of evidence, which must be placed in a broader framework of evidence synthesis and decision analysis. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark J. Sculpher & Karl Claxton & Mike Drummond & Chris McCabe, 2006. "Whither trial‐based economic evaluation for health care decision making?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(7), pages 677-687, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:15:y:2006:i:7:p:677-687
    DOI: 10.1002/hec.1093
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    File URL: https://doi.org/10.1002/hec.1093
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Andrea Manca & Nigel Rice & Mark J. Sculpher & Andrew H. Briggs, 2005. "Assessing generalisability by location in trial‐based cost‐effectiveness analysis: the use of multilevel models," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(5), pages 471-485, May.
    2. Richard Grieve & Richard Nixon & Simon G. Thompson & Charles Normand, 2005. "Using multilevel models for assessing the variability of multinational resource use and cost data," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(2), pages 185-196, February.
    3. Karl Claxton & John Posnett, "undated". "An Economic Approach to Clinical Trial Design and Research Priority Setting," Discussion Papers 96/19, Department of Economics, University of York.
    4. Andrew R. Willan & Eleanor M. Pinto & Bernie J. O'Brien & Padma Kaul & Ron Goeree & Larry Lynd & Paul W. Armstrong, 2005. "Country specific cost comparisons from multinational clinical trials using empirical Bayesian shrinkage estimation: the Canadian ASSENT‐3 economic analysis," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(4), pages 327-338, April.
    5. Elizabeth Fenwick & Karl Claxton & Mark Sculpher & Andrew Briggs, 2000. "Improving the efficiency and relevance of health technology assessent: the role of iterative decision analytic modelling," Working Papers 179chedp, Centre for Health Economics, University of York.
    6. Nicola J. Cooper & Alex J. Sutton & Keith R. Abrams & David Turner & Allan Wailoo, 2004. "Comprehensive decision analytical modelling in economic evaluation: a Bayesian approach," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(3), pages 203-226, March.
    7. Karl Claxton & Mark Sculpher & Chris McCabe & Andrew Briggs & Ron Akehurst & Martin Buxton & John Brazier & Tony O'Hagan, 2005. "Probabilistic sensitivity analysis for NICE technology assessment: not an optional extra," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 14(4), pages 339-347, April.
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