Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Controversies on QALYs

The Limitations of QALY: A Literature Review

After 50 years, valuing health using QALYs is still a daunting task. Basically the debate over ethical considerations, methodological issues and theoretical assumptions, and context or disease specific considerations is still alive. And I would add that it will remain as an open issue. Those that would like a simple metric for a complex issue will fail forever. And this pitfalls are translated to decision making when QALYs are the reference for resource allocation.
I'm unsure about what will be the next step. A recent article explains current limitations, but unfortunately I can't foresee alternative options for the future:

Debate continues to exist on whether QALYs should serve as the central means of health economics analysis. This review examines the potential shortfalls of QALYs, spanning current ethical, methodological, and contextual domains in addition to examining their suitability for regenerative medicine and future technologies. In the UK, NICE currently stipulates a threshold of £20 000 - £30 000 per QALY  when evaluating new therapeutics and/or technologies for NHS adoption, and has used this tool to apply a rational and transparent process to technological adoption for over ten years. Calculating QALY or cost effectiveness thresholds is particularly complex and debate has previously been publicized on whether the value of a QALY should be dictated by first proposing the worth of a QALY and setting the healthcare budget at or below that value, or alternatively, proposing a healthcare budget and then allowing the cost of a QALY to declare itself following purchasing decisions. With the advent of cellular based therapeutics and their comparably high upfront costs, the QALY calculation methodology may need refinement to realise the financial advantages and opportunity costs such interventions may convey – particularly considering the degree of uncertainty associated with them.
Meanwhile we should focus on improving comparative effectiveness of current and new technologies, specially those that are related to precision medicine.



 

 
Dr. Heisenberg's Magic Mirror of Uncertainty, 1998
 

No comments:

Post a Comment