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Stat Med. 2002 Oct 15;21(19):2879-88.

Economic evaluation in long-term clinical trials.

Author information

1
Department of Health Research and Policy, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305-5405, USA. hlatky@stanford.edu

Abstract

Economic endpoints have been increasingly included in long-term clinical trials, but they pose several methodologic challenges, including how best to collect, describe, analyse and interpret medical cost data. Cost of care can be measured by converting billed charges, performing detailed micro-costing studies, or by measuring use of key resources and assigning cost weights to each resource. The latter method is most commonly used, with cost weights based either on empirical regression models or administratively determined reimbursement rates. In long-term studies, monetary units should be adjusted to reflect cost inflation and discounting. The temporal pattern of accumulating costs can be described using a modification of the Kaplan-Meier curve. Regression analyses to evaluate factors associated with cost are best performed on the log of costs due to their typically skewed distribution.Cost-effectiveness analysis attempts to measure the value of a new therapy by calculating the difference in cost between the new therapy and the standard therapy, divided by the difference in benefit between the new therapy and the standard therapy. The cost-effectiveness ratio based on the results of a randomized trial may change substantially with longer follow-up intervals, particularly for therapies that are initially expensive but eventually improve survival. A model that projects long-term patterns of cost and survival expected beyond the end of completed follow-up can provide an important perspective in the setting of limited trial duration.

PMID:
12325104
DOI:
10.1002/sim.1292
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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