Economics Research Collection

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UCD Centre for Economic Research coordinates the research activities of UCD School of Economics. Research papers cover all aspects of theoretical and empirical economics, with special emphasis on the fields in which the School is particularly strong: economic history, international economics, labour economics and current policy issues in the Irish and international economies.

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Now showing 1 - 5 of 511
  • Publication
    Adherence to Discounting Guidelines: Evidence from Over 2000 Published Cost-Effectiveness Analyses
    Previous studies have shown that not all cost-effectiveness analyses (CEAs) adhere to recommended guidelines on intertemporal discounting. This analysis investigates adherence in a sample of over 2000 CEAs from seven countries. Guideline discount rates were retrieved for Australia, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, The Netherlands, New Zealand and the UK. Data on the rates applied in published CEAs were retrieved from the Tufts CEA Registry from the sample countries within the periods covered by the discounting guidelines. The relationship between adherence and candidate explanatory factors were assessed using logistic regression. The analysis appraised 2270 CEAs. The overall rate of adherence to discounting recommendations was 79%. Country-specific adherence ranged from 28% in New Zealand to 87% in Belgium and the UK. Adherence in Australia and Canada was 73% and 66%, respectively. Adherence is statistically significantly higher in more recent studies, countries currently applying differential discounting and manufacturer-sponsored studies. Relative to the reference case of Australia, adherence is statistically significantly higher in the UK and lower in Canada and New Zealand. There is notable variation in the rates of adherence to discounting recommendations between countries and over time. Incomplete adherence raises concerns regarding the comparability of evidence between studies. In turn, this raises concerns regarding equity of access to scarce healthcare resources. Journal editors should ensure that adherence to discounting recommendations is assessed as part of the peer review process.
      36Scopus© Citations 3
  • Publication
    Health-related quality of life as measured by the EQ-5D in the prevention, screening and management of cervical disease: A systematic review
    Purpose: Cost-effectiveness analyses (CEAs) of screening can be highly sensitive to the health-related quality of life (HRQoL) effects of screen tests and subsequent treatment. Accordingly, accurate assessment of HRQoL is essential. We reviewed the literature regarding HRQoL in cervical prevention and management in order to appraise the current evidence regarding this important input to CEA. Methods: We searched the MEDLINE, Scopus and EconLit databases for studies that estimated HRQoL in cervical cancer prevention and management published January 1995–December 2015. The primary inclusion criterion was for studies that assess HRQoL using the EQ-5D. Data were abstracted from eligible studies on setting, elicitation group, sample size, elicitation instruments, health state valuations, study design and follow-up. We assessed the quality and comparability of the studies with a particular focus on the HRQoL reported across states and groups. Results: Fifteen papers met the inclusion criteria. Most used patient elicitation groups (n = 11), 2 used the general public and 2 used a mix of both. Eight studies were cross-sectional and seven were longitudinal. Six studies used both the EQ-5D-3L and the EQ-VAS together with other measures of overall HRQoL or condition-specific instruments. Extensive heterogeneity was observed across study characteristics. Conclusions: Our results reveal the challenges of sourcing reliable estimates of HRQoL for use in CEAs of cervical cancer prevention and treatment. The EQ-5D appears insufficiently sensitive for some health states. A more general problem is the paucity of HRQoL estimates for many health states and their change over time.
      34Scopus© Citations 9
  • Publication
    The Irish Cost-Effectiveness Threshold: Does it Support Rational Rationing or Might it Lead to Unintended Harm to Ireland's Health System?
    Ireland is one of the few countries worldwide to have an explicit cost-effectiveness threshold. In 2012, an agreement between government and the pharmaceutical industry that provided substantial savings on existing medications set the threshold at €45,000/quality-adjusted life-year (QALY). This replaced a previously unofficial threshold of €20,000/QALY. According to the agreement, drugs within the threshold will be granted reimbursement, whereas those exceeding it may still be approved following further negotiation. A number of drugs far exceeding the threshold have been approved recently. The agreement only applies to pharmaceuticals. There are four reasons for concern regarding Ireland's threshold. The absence of an explicit threshold for non-drug interventions leaves it unclear if there is parity in willingness to pay across all interventions. As the threshold resembles a price floor rather than a ceiling, in principle it only offers a weak barrier to cost-ineffective interventions. It has no empirical basis. Finally, it is probably too high given recent estimates of a threshold for the UK based on the cost effectiveness of services forgone of approximately £13,000/QALY. An excessive threshold risks causing the Irish health system unintended harm. The lack of an empirically informed threshold means the policy recommendations of cost-effectiveness analysis cannot be considered as fully evidence- based rational rationing. Policy makers should consider these issues and recent Irish legislation that defined cost effectiveness in terms of the opportunity cost of services forgone when choosing what threshold to apply once the current industry agreement expires at the end of 2015.
      13Scopus© Citations 31
  • Publication
    Challenges in Cost-Effectiveness Analysis Modelling of HPV Vaccines in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Systematic Review and Practice Recommendations
    Background: Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) face a number of challenges in implementing cervical cancer prevention programmes that do not apply in high-income countries. Objective: This review assessed how context-specific challenges of implementing cervical cancer prevention strategies in LMICs were accounted for in existing cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) models of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination. Methods: The databases of MEDLINE, EMBASE, NHS Economic Evaluation Database, EconLit, Web of Science, and the Center for the Evaluation of Value and Risk in Health (CEA) Registry were searched for studies published from 2006 to 2015. A descriptive, narrative, and interpretative synthesis of data was undertaken. Results: Of the 33 studies included in the review, the majority acknowledged cost per vaccinated girl (CVG) (26 studies) and vaccine coverage rate (21 studies) as particular challenges for LMICs, while nine studies identified screening coverage rate as a challenge. Most of the studies estimated CVG as a composite of different cost items. However, the basis for the items within this composite cost was unclear. The majority used an assumption rather than an observed rate to represent screening and vaccination coverage rates. CVG, vaccine coverage and screening coverage were shown by some studies through sensitivity analyses to reverse the conclusions regarding cost-effectiveness, thereby significantly affecting policy recommendations. Conclusions: While many studies recognized aspects of the particular challenges of HPV vaccination in LMICs, greater efforts need to be made in adapting models to account for these challenges. These include adapting costings of HPV vaccine delivery from other countries, learning from the outcomes of cervical cancer screening programmes in the same geographical region, and taking into account the country’s previous experience with other vaccination programmes.
      17Scopus© Citations 21
  • Publication
    NICE's Discounting Review: Clear Thinking on Rational Revision Meets Obstacle of Industrial Interests
    The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recently published a review of discounting practice and theory as part of a consultation on its current methods guidelines. The review examines the case for revision or retention of current methods. The changes considered include eliminating favourable rates in certain special cases and the reduction of the base-case rate for costs and health effects from 3.5 to 1.5%. The review also notes the potential need to reduce the cost-effectiveness threshold to accommodate a discount rate reduction, explaining that an agreement between the UK government and the pharmaceutical industry proscribes changing NICE's threshold range until the end of 2023. We believe NICE should be commended for a useful overview of the existing literature and relevant issues. We firmly endorse NICE's view that favourable discount rates are not a good way to apply a preference for certain interventions. Similarly, we support the option of reducing the discount rate to 1.5%, which better accords with real government borrowing costs. We suggest further work to clarify the appropriate theoretical basis for the NICE's social discount rate and the sensitivity of the threshold to changes in discounting. The prospects of a necessary discount rate reduction appear to depend on whether a threshold reduction can be achieved within NICE's current range or if the range itself must be revised downwards. NICE has usefully informed the debate around discount rates. Ultimately, the path to a methodologically consistent and evidence-based revision of discounting depends on whether NICE needs to adjust the threshold too and if it is free to do so.
      33Scopus© Citations 2