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Assessing the Need for Quality-Adjusted Cost-Effectiveness Studies of Nanotechnological Cancer Therapies

 Rita Bosetti, Wim Marneffe and Lode Vereeck (2013)

Spiraling costs are a major concern for public health administrators allocating limited resources. New therapies like nanotechnological cancer treatments typically entail high acquisition costs. Their use can be justified, however, by their superior cost-effectiveness due to an increased effectiveness, reduced toxicities, less adverse effects and a better quality of life. The purpose of the article is to assess the quality of cost-effectiveness analyses of nanotechnological cancer therapies. To that end, it screens 18 major studies. They conclude that liposomal therapies are cost-effective for the treatment of ovarian and breast cancers, but not for other types of cancer. However, the available studies have some serious methodological flaws. Typically, the results are not quality-adjusted. Since therapies affect both the length and quality of life, this might lead to inefficient choices. Moreover, only direct medical costs are taken into account, neglecting indirect costs that impose a significant economic burden on patients and society. Cost-effectiveness analysis is a valuable tool to set priorities in public health. It should comprise all direct and indirect costs and adjust effectiveness outcomes with quality of life estimates. This article shows, however, that economic research of nanotechnology-based therapeutics is still in its infancy.

Nanomedicine 8/3, p. 487-497.

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