IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Does Cost-Effectiveness Analysis Discriminate against Patients with Short Life Expectancy?

Listed author(s):
  • Mike Paulden

    (Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment (THETA) Collaborative, University of Toronto, Canada)

  • Anthony J. Culyer

    (Department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, Canada; Department of Economics and Related Studies, University of York, UK; Centre for Health Economics, University of York, UK; The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis (RCEA), Italy)

Does the use of quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) in cost-effectiveness analyses (CEAs) of health care interventions necessarily discriminate against patients with short life expectancy compared with others? This paper reviews the arguments both that it does and that it does not, and demonstrates that whether the use of any time-dependent outcome measure in CEA will result in discrimination depends, in the context of any given choice between interventions, upon the choice of cost-effectiveness ‘threshold’ adopted by the decision maker, whether the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of the intervention for a subgroup of patients with relatively short life expectancy lies above the cost-effectiveness threshold, and whether the ICER for a subgroup of patients with longer life expectancy falls below the cost-effectiveness threshold. For discrimination to result against such patients requires that the long term ratio of costs to QALYs associated with the intervention be lower than the short term ratio of costs to QALYs. The implications for agencies which use CEA as part of their decision making are then discussed.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis in its series Working Paper Series with number 41_10.

in new window

Date of creation: Jan 2010
Handle: RePEc:rim:rimwps:41_10
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Via Patara, 3, 47921 Rimini (RN)

Phone: +390541434142
Fax: +39054155431
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

in new window

  1. Mike Paulden & Karl Claxton, 2009. "Budget allocation and the revealed social rate of time preference for health," Working Papers 053cherp, Centre for Health Economics, University of York.
  2. Karl Claxton & Mike Paulden & Hugh Gravelle & Werner Brouwer & Anthony J. Culyer, 2011. "Discounting and decision making in the economic evaluation of health‐care technologies," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(1), pages 2-15, January.
  3. Hugh Gravelle & Werner Brouwer & Louis Niessen & Maarten Postma & Frans Rutten, 2007. "Discounting in economic evaluations: stepping forward towards optimal decision rules," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(3), pages 307-317.
  4. Karl Claxton & Mark Sculpher & Anthony Culyer & Chris McCabe & Andrew Briggs & Ron Akehurst & Martin Buxton & John Brazier, 2006. "Discounting and cost-effectiveness in NICE - stepping back to sort out a confusion," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(1), pages 1-4.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:rim:rimwps:41_10. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Marco Savioli)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.