Genetic Health Technology and Economic Evaluation: A Critical Review
The aim of the review is to establish whether, on the basis of previous published evidence, current accepted guidance for health economic evaluation needs to be adapted to evaluate healthcare based on use of genetic information. Online literature search strategies were designed (using PubMed and the NHS Economic Evaluation Database [NHS EED], among others) to gather papers carrying out or discussing economic evaluation and genetics. Papers meeting the inclusion criteria were obtained and reviewed. The papers purporting to be economic analyses were classified using the criteria of the NHS EED and the British Medical Journal (BMJ) working party on peer review of health economic literature. Of 120 English-language papers that met the criteria for review, only 37 were economic evaluations according to the criteria set out by the NHS EED and BMJ working party on economic evaluations. Of these 37, only 33 papers discussed economic evaluation methodologies in the genetics context. The economic evaluation papers did not seem to tackle any of the problems discussed in the methodological papers. Economic evaluation methods offer a structured approach for evaluation of changes but may need to change in order to assess the new technologies. We have found that such studies have not been widely reported, and that those that have been reported do not depart from current economic methods. We have identified a need for better skills and guidance in health economics within this growing area of research.
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