In economic evaluations, two or more alternative treatments are compared in order to assess their cost effectiveness. The evaluations may for instance describe whether a new treatment that is more effective than an existing treatment is cost effective. The results are often presented as a cost per quality adjusted life year (QALY) gained (see the box on the right hand side). If the cost per QALY gained is below a certain threshold value, the new treatment is deemed cost effective.
A societal perspective is applied
Economic evaluations can be performed from various perspectives. In a health care perspective, only costs and effects directly linked to the health care system are taken into account. A societal perspective also includes costs and effects outside the health care sector. In TLV´s health economic evaluations a societal perspective is applied.
Cost-effectiveness is weighted together with other principles
In Sweden, priority-setting decisions in the healthcare sector are based on an ethical platform with three basic principles. The three principles are:
- The human dignity principle: All individuals have equal value and rights regardless of their personal characteristics s and social function.
- The needs-solidarity principle: Health care resources should be allocated according to need (first be utilized where the needs are the largest).
- The cost-effectiveness principle: In choosing between different services or treatments one needs to strive for a reasonable relationship between costs and effects, measured in terms of improved health and quality of life.