Sumary of Why standard ways of valuing health were set aside during the pandemic:
- But as the pandemic continued, affecting both health and finances, questions started arising as to what the right focus should be:.
- Implicitly, governments across the globe began considering a trade-off between the two in their decision making..
- When considering health and economic benefits, governments have had alternatives at their disposal at different levels:.
- tight lockdowns versus less stringent ones (or none at all), open schools and universities versus online-only education, open versus closed borders, and so on..
- Or conversely, how many more deaths are we willing to accept in return for increased economic and other activities?.
- A standard practice for dealing with such difficult questions is to apply economic evaluation tools – measures that allow you to estimate the actual cost of efforts to protect people health, such as quality-adjusted life years (QALYs)..
- In the NHS, if the cost per QALY gained is between £20,000 and £30,000 (or up to £50,000 in case of some end-of-life treatments), the intervention is deemed cost-effective by the health watchdog, NICE..
- sfam_photo/Shutterstock But despite their proven strength in making healthcare decisions explicit and transparent, QALYs haven’t been used by the UK government during the pandemic response….