Does cost-effectiveness analysis discriminate against patients with short life expectancy? Matters of logic and matters of context
The aim of this paper is to explore the claim of ageism made against the National Institute for Health & Clinical Excellence and like organisations, and to identify circumstances under which ageist discrimination might arise. We adopt a broad definition of ageism as representing any discrimination against individuals or groups of individuals solely on the basis that they have shorter life expectancy than others. A simple model of NICE?s decision making process is developed which demonstrates that NICE?s recommendations do not inherently discriminate on the basis of life expectancy per se but that scope for discrimination may arise in the case of specific technologies having identifiable characteristics. Such discrimination may favour patients with either longer or shorter life expectancy. It is shown that NICE?s policies, procedures and the context in which NICE makes its decisions not only reduce the scope for discriminatory recommendations but also – in the case of “end of life” treatments – increase the likelihood that NICE?s recommendations favour those with shorter, rather than longer, life expectancy.
|Date of creation:||Feb 2010|
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