Published online by Cambridge University Press: 26 April 2005
Objectives: The number of published economic evaluations has increased dramatically during the past decades, but the number of studies performed for different drugs varies substantially. The objective of this study was to analyze the amount of cost-effectiveness evidence for new drugs, by systematically reviewing the published evidence of cost-effectiveness.
Methods: The study included 442 new chemical entities, approved in Sweden between 1987 and 2000. The amount of cost-effectiveness evidence was rated and analyzed together with information about sales and the therapeutic benefit of the drugs. Information about cost-effectiveness was obtained from the Health Economic Evaluation Database.
Results: The results showed that most cost-effectiveness evidence was published approximately 1 to 5 years after the approval year and that very few articles were published before or during the approval year. More than half of the drugs did not have any evidence of their cost-effectiveness. A total of 51 of the evaluated drugs were considered having much evidence of cost-effectiveness, 84 drugs were considered having some evidence, and the remaining 307 drugs had little evidence. The analyses indicated that drugs with improved effectiveness or safety compared with other marked drugs had more evidence of cost-effectiveness and that drugs with low sale were likely to have less evidence of cost-effectiveness than drugs with high sale.
Conclusions: The study indicated that the publication of cost-effectiveness information for new drugs introduced between 1987 and 2000 may be considered rather rational, that is, the economic evaluations were performed for drugs for which this information was most important.
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