New drugs should be judged on “willingness to pay” basis, says leading economist

BMJ 2010; 341 doi: (Published 19 July 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;341:c3899
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

    A leading economist has argued that “willingness to pay” is the best way to judge whether a new drug should be funded.

    Peter Zweifel, professor of economics at the University of Zurich, said that the willingness to pay criterion—which assigns a value to health benefits by directly asking members of the public how much they would be prepared to pay to gain a benefit—is a better measure than quality adjusted life years (QALYs), the commonly used measure that combines an estimate of the life years gained from an intervention with a judgment on the quality of these life years.

    Speaking at a seminar at the independent Office of Health Economics in London, Professor Zweifel said, “I would argue that the real gold standard in economic …

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