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Multilevel models for estimating incremental net benefits in multinational studies


  • Richard Grieve
  • Richard Nixon
  • Simon G. Thompson
  • John Cairns


Multilevel models (MLMs) have been recommended for estimating incremental net benefits (INBs) in multicentre cost‐effectiveness analysis (CEA). However, these models have assumed that the INBs are exchangeable and that there is a common variance across all centres. This paper examines the plausibility of these assumptions by comparing various MLMs for estimating the mean INB in a multinational CEA. The results showed that the MLMs that assumed the INBs were exchangeable and had a common variance led to incorrect inferences. The MLMs that included covariates to allow for systematic differences across the centres, and estimated different variances in each centre, made more plausible assumptions, fitted the data better and led to more appropriate inferences. We conclude that the validity of assumptions underlying MLMs used in CEA need to be critically evaluated before reliable conclusions can be drawn. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Grieve & Richard Nixon & Simon G. Thompson & John Cairns, 2007. "Multilevel models for estimating incremental net benefits in multinational studies," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(8), pages 815-826, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:hlthec:v:16:y:2007:i:8:p:815-826
    DOI: 10.1002/hec.1198

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    References listed on IDEAS

    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. Andrew R. Willan & Andrew H. Briggs & Jeffrey S. Hoch, 2004. "Regression methods for covariate adjustment and subgroup analysis for non‐censored cost‐effectiveness data," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(5), pages 461-475, May.
    3. Danzon, Patricia M. & Chao, Li-Wei, 2000. "Cross-national price differences for pharmaceuticals: how large, and why?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 159-195, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Richard Grieve & John Cairns & Simon G. Thompson, 2010. "Improving costing methods in multicentre economic evaluation: the use of multiple imputation for unit costs," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(8), pages 939-954, August.
    2. Manuel Gomes & Richard Grieve & Richard Nixon & Edmond S.‐W. Ng & James Carpenter & Simon G. Thompson, 2012. "Methods For Covariate Adjustment In Cost‐Effectiveness Analysis That Use Cluster Randomised Trials," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(9), pages 1101-1118, September.
    3. Md Abu Manju & Math J. J. M. Candel & Gerard J. P. van Breukelen, 2019. "SamP2CeT: an interactive computer program for sample size and power calculation for two-level cost-effectiveness trials," Computational Statistics, Springer, vol. 34(1), pages 47-70, March.
    4. Laura Haas & Tom Stargardt & Jonas Schreyoegg, 2012. "Cost-effectiveness of open versus laparoscopic appendectomy: a multilevel approach with propensity score matching," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 13(5), pages 549-560, October.

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