Review of Australian health economic evaluation - 245 interventions: what can we say about cost effectiveness?

Kim Dalziel, Leonie Segal, Duncan Mortimer

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    33 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: There is an increasing body of published cost-utility analyses of health interventions which we sought to draw together to inform research and policy. Methods: To achieve consistency in costing base and policy context, study scope was limited to Australian-based cost-effectiveness analyses. Through a comprehensive literature review we identified 245 health care interventions that met our study criteria. Results: The median cost-effectiveness ratio was A$18,100 (∼US$13,000) per QALY/DALY/LY (quality adjusted life year gained or, disability adjusted life year averted or life year gained). Some modalities tended to perform worse, such as vaccinations and diagnostics (median cost/QALY $58,000 and $68,000 respectively), than others such as allied health, lifestyle, in-patient interventions (median cost/QALY/DALY/LY all at ∼A$9,000∼US$6,500). Interventions addressing some diseases such as diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance or alcohol and drug dependence tended to perform well (median cost/QALY/DALY/LY < A$3,700, < US$5,000). Interventions targeting younger persons < 25 years (median cost/QALY/DALY/LY < A$41,200) tended to perform less well than those targeting adults > 25 years (median cost/QALY/DALY/LY < A$16,000). However, there was also substantial variation in the cost effectiveness of individual interventions within and across all categories. Conclusion: For any given condition, modality or setting there are likely to be examples of interventions that are cost effective and cost ineffective. It will be important for decision makers to make decisions based on the individual merits of an intervention rather than rely on broad generalisations. Further evaluation is warranted to address gaps in the literature and to ensure that evaluations are performed in areas with greatest potential benefit.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number9
    JournalCost Effectiveness and Resource Allocation
    Publication statusPublished or Issued - 20 May 2008

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Health Policy

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