Boston, MA, USA – Over the last decades, increasing health care costs in Asian countries have made it imperative to consider the value of medical technology for coverage and reimbursement decisions in order to ensure efficient resource allocation.
As described in the article, “The State of Cost-Utility Analyses in Asia: A Systematic Review,” published in Value in Health Regional Issues Volume 6 focusing on Asia, researchers at Tufts Medical Center reviewed cost-utility analyses (CUAs) targeting populations in Asia. Cost-utility analyses (CUAs) report the value of health care interventions as incremental costs and incremental health benefits, measured in quality adjusted life-years (QALYs), compared with alternative therapeutic approaches. Using data from the Tufts Medical Center Cost-Effectiveness Analysis (CEA) Registry (www.cearegistry.org), they examined study features such as country of study, disease area researched, study funder, and type of intervention. They also compared Asian CUAs to all other CUAs focusing on non-Asian populations.
The study found that Asian CUAs accounted for 5% (n=175) of the total CUAs present in the CEA Registry from 2000-2012 (n=3,414). The number of Asian CUAs has steadily grown over the past years, from 19 CUAs published in 2000-2004 to 107 CUAs in 2009-2012. Asian CUAs were most often set in Japan (33%), followed by Taiwan (15%), China (15%), Thailand (8%), and South Korea (7%). The most common diseases researched were cancer (25%), infectious diseases (14%), and cardiovascular disease (9%). Asian CUAs focused mainly on pharmaceutical treatments (56%), screening programs (19%), and immunizations (12%).
The study also reported that more Asian CUAs evaluated primary prevention interventions (e.g., immunizations and screenings), compared to non-Asian CUAs (22% vs. 17%). Additionally, fewer Asian CUAs were sponsored by pharmaceutical companies compared to non-Asian CUAs (21% vs. 33%). The study findings showed that the majority of Asian CUAs adhered to good reporting practices; however, they lagged in reporting sensitivity analyses, disclosing funding status, and currency year, compared with non-Asian CUAs.
Asian countries spent approximately 6% of their GDP on health expenditures in 2013 and it is steadily increasing. Several countries such as South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore already have agencies set up to review cost-effectiveness evidence for decision-making. This study illustrates the growing interest among emerging Asian markets to understand and implement economic evaluations in health care decision making.