Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Consolidated Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards (CHEERS)

Consolidated research agenda needed for health economic evaluation in Europe

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 03 September 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5228
  1. David Tordrup, research fellow1,
  2. Roberto Bertollini, chief scientist, WHO representative to the European Union1
  1. 1World Health Organization, Bruxelles, Belgium
  1. tordrupd{at}

The Consolidated Health Economic Evaluation Reporting Standards (CHEERS) Task Force has called on researchers, editors, and reviewers to adhere to reporting standards for health economic evaluations, recognising the importance of clearly communicated economic evidence in health policy decision making.1 Although such steps are important, it is also pertinent to consider in which technical areas the value of investing in new evidence is greatest, and to what extent the economic evidence resulting from academic endeavour is useful in practice.

The implementation of economic evidence has been most systematically attempted and institutionalised through health technology assessment, largely in the area of drugs, which account for a limited fraction (generally 10-20%) of total health expenditures in Europe.2 Beyond drugs, a systematic approach is uncommon and the uptake of economic evidence across levels of health systems may be hindered by budgetary silos or difficulties in interpreting and applying economic evidence in practice.3 Therefore, it is crucial to examine on one hand what economic evidence is available for decision making, and on the other, how this knowledge and its translation can be improved to increase healthcare efficiency as demographic and epidemiologic pressures on health systems grow.

The World Health Organization in partnership with the European Commission, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, and a range of academic partners is undertaking a research project to outline a Research Agenda for Health Economic Evaluation ( The project examines what is known about the cost effectiveness of treatments for the 10 highest burden conditions in Europe4 as well as contextual factors important for the translation of such knowledge in practice. Integration with ongoing activities is encouraged, and users and producers of evidence are invited to participate in shaping a research agenda for Europe that is responsive to needs and deals with the most important challenges ahead.


Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g5228


  • Competing interests: None declared.


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