#HEJC for 01/10/2012

This month’s (inaugural) meeting will take place Monday 1st October, at 8pm London time. That’ll be 3pm in New York City and 3am on Tuesday in Hong Kong. Join the Facebook event here. For more information about the Health Economics Twitter Journal Club and how to take part, click here.

The paper for discussion this month is published as an Early View article in Health Economics and the authors are Warren G. Linley and Dyfrig A. Hughes of Bangor University. The title of the paper is:

“Societal views on NICE, Cancer Drugs Fund and value-based pricing criteria for prioritising medicines: a cross-sectional survey of 4118 adults in Great Britain”

Following the meeting, a transcript of the discussion can be downloaded here.

Links to the article

Official: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/hec.2872/abstract

RePEc: tbc

Other: tbc

Summary of the paper

There is a lack of evidence regarding societal preferences over England’s Cancer Drugs Fund, and the criteria used by NICE in accepting higher incremental cost-effectiveness ratios for some drugs. The authors conduct a choice-based experiment, via web-based surveys, of 4118 UK adults in order to explore societal preferences for resource allocation criteria and a future value-based pricing system. Respondents were asked to allocated fixed funds across different disease areas and patient groups, reflecting nine prioritisation criteria. The researchers found that respondents supported the proposed criteria of value-based pricing, which included prioritisation of severe diseases, unmet needs and innovation. Respondents were found not to support the prioritisation of children or disadvantages populations; the use of an end-of-life premium; the Cancer Drugs Fund; or the special funding status of treatments for rare diseases.

Discussion points

  • Does the sample used, and the method adopted, represent true social preferences?
  • To what extent do these questionnaires, and their responses, inform a QALY framework?
  • Would a discrete choice experiment have been more appropriate?
  • Should the authors have applied population weightings to their sample?
  • Do the questions used in this study sufficiently isolate prioritisation preferences, or are they muddied by preferences for population health maximisation?
  • If this study demonstrates the unrepresentativeness of NICE’s Citizen Council, what is an alternative means of incorporating dynamic social values?

Missed the meeting? Add your thoughts on the paper in the comments below.

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