Objectives: The methodological quality of an economic evaluation performed alongside a clinical trial can be underestimated if the paper does not report key methodological features. This study discusses methodological assessment issues on the example of a systematic review on cost-effectiveness of physiotherapy for knee osteoarthritis.
Methods: Six economic evaluation studies included in the systematic review and related clinical trials were assessed using the 10-question check-list by Drummond and the Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) scale.
Results: All economic evaluations were performed alongside a clinical trial but the studied interventions were too heterogeneous to be synthesized. Methodological quality of the economic evaluations reported in the papers was not free of drawbacks, and in some cases, it improved when information from the related clinical trial was taken into account.
Conclusions: Economic evaluation papers dedicate little space to methodological features of related clinical trials; therefore, the methodological quality can be underestimated if evaluated separately from the trials. Future economic evaluations should follow more strictly the recommendations about methodology and the authors should pay special attention to the quality of reporting.