How Often Do Sensitivity Analyses for Economic Parameters Change Cost-Utility Analysis Conclusions?
Bruce R. Schackman
Heather Taffet Gold
Patricia W. Stone
Peter J. Neumann
Background: There is limited evidence about the extent to which sensitivity analysis has been used in the cost-effectiveness literature. Sensitivity analyses for health-related QOL (HR-QOL), cost and discount rate economic parameters are of particular interest because they measure the effects of methodological and estimation uncertainties. Aim: To investigate the use of sensitivity analyses in the pharmaceutical cost-utility literature in order to test whether a change in economic parameters could result in a different conclusion regarding the cost effectiveness of the intervention analysed. Methods: Cost-utility analyses of pharmaceuticals identified in a prior comprehensive audit (70 articles) were reviewed and further audited. For each base case for which sensitivity analyses were reported (n = 122), up to two sensitivity analyses for HR-QOL (n = 133), cost (n = 99), and discount rate (n = 128) were examined. Article mentions of thresholds for acceptable cost-utility ratios were recorded (total 36). Cost-utility ratios were denominated in US dollars for the year reported in each of the original articles in order to determine whether a different conclusion would have been indicated at the time the article was published. Quality ratings from the original audit for articles where sensitivity analysis results crossed the cost-utility ratio threshold above the base-case result were compared with those that did not. Results: The most frequently mentioned cost-utility thresholds were $US20 Conclusions: Sensitivity analyses for economic parameters are widely reported and often identify whether choosing different assumptions leads to a different conclusion regarding cost effectiveness. Changes in HR-QOL and cost parameters should be used to test alternative guideline recommendations when there is uncertainty regarding these parameters. Changes in discount rates less frequently produce results that would change the conclusion about cost effectiveness. Improving the overall quality of published studies and describing the justifications for parameter ranges would allow more meaningful conclusions to be drawn from sensitivity analyses.
In order to set up a list of libraries that you have access to,
you must first login
or sign up.
Then set up a personal list of libraries from your profile page by
clicking on your user name at the top right of any screen.