Study: Members of the Public Willing to Share Limited Healthcare Budget with Less Severely Ill Patients, Even When Not Cost-Effective

Lawrenceville, NJ, USA—August 22, 2018—Value in Health, the official journal of ISPOR (the professional society for health economics and outcomes research), announced today the publication of study results suggesting that sharing is intrinsically important and that the public would support some funding of services for patients whose health problem is less severe than that of other identified patients, even when their treatment is less cost-effective. The report, Sharing and the Provision of “Cost-Ineffective” Life-Extending Services to Less Severely Ill Patients, was published in the August 2018 issue of Value in Health.

In this survey, members of the public were asked to divide a theoretical budget between two patients facing life-threatening illnesses of differing severities. Researchers found that respondents would choose to share the health budget between patients, even those in which the illness was less severe and services were not cost-effective. Such sentiment contradicts traditional cost-utility analysis, which prioritizes health services according to their statistically most cost-efficient use.

“A limited number of studies have observed a social preference for allocating some part of a limited budget to services that are effective but not ‘cost-effective’ because of their high cost,” said author Jeff Richardson, Centre for Health Economics, Monash Business School, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia. “Our results are consistent with those findings. In each case presented, respondents divided budgets between patients irrespective of the accompanying circumstances. Our work suggests that there is a social preference for sharing, and that this may be the result of a common determinant of preferences and behaviors, namely, “reciprocity.”



ISPOR, the professional society for health economics and outcomes research (HEOR), is an international, multistakeholder, nonprofit dedicated to advancing HEOR excellence to improve decision making for health globally. The Society is the leading source for scientific conferences, peer-reviewed and MEDLINE®-indexed publications, good practices guidance, education, collaboration, and tools/resources in the field.
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Value in Health (ISSN 1098-3015) is an international, indexed journal that publishes original research and health policy articles that advance the field of health economics and outcomes research to help healthcare leaders make evidence-based decisions. The journal’s 2017 impact factor score is 5.494. Value in Health is ranked 3rd among 94 journals in healthcare sciences and services, 3rd among 79 journals in health policy and services, and 6th among 353 journals in economics. Value in Health is a monthly publication that circulates to more than 10,000 readers around the world.
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