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Weighting and valuing quality-adjusted life-years using stated preference methods: preliminary results from the Social Value of a QALY Project

Odejar, Maria and Baker, Rachel and Ryan, Mandy and Donalson, Cam and Bateman, Ian J. and Jones-Lee, M and Lancsar, Emily and Mason, Helen and Pinto Paredes, JL and Robinson, A and Shackley, P and Smith, R and Sugdem, R and Wildman, John (2010): Weighting and valuing quality-adjusted life-years using stated preference methods: preliminary results from the Social Value of a QALY Project. Published in: Health Technology Assessment , Vol. 14, No. 27 (1 May 2010): pp. 1-178.

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Abstract

Abstract To identify characteristics of beneficiaries of health care over which relative weights shobe derived and to estimate relative weights to be attached to health gains according to characteristics of recipients of these gains (relativities study); and to assess the feasibility of estimating a willingness-to- pay (WTP)-based value of a quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) (valuation study) an interview-based survey was administered – one (for the relativities study) to a nationally representative sample of the population in England and the other (for the valuation study) to a smaller convenience sample. The two surveys were administered by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) in respondents’ homes.

Discrete choice results showed that age and severity variables did not have a strong impact on respondents’ choices over and above the health (QALY) gains presented. In contrast, matching showed age and severity impacts to be strong: depending on method of aggregation, gains to some groups were weighted three to four times more highly than gains to others. Results from the WTP and SG questions were combined in different ways to arrive at values of a QALY. These vary from values which are in the vicinity of the current National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) threshold to extremely high values.

With respect to relative weights, more research is required to explore methodological differences with respect to age and severity weighting. On valuation, there are particular issues concerning the extent to which ‘noise’ and ‘error’ in people’s responses might generate extreme and unreliable figures. Methods of aggregation and measures of central tendency were issues in both weighting and valuation procedures and require further exploration.

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