Cost-Effectiveness of Cardiovascular Disease Spending

JACC: 11/1/12

In a previous communication (1), we traced the history of spending on cardiovascular disease (CVD) treatment, prevention, and research since 1996. As we noted there, such spending estimates naturally lead to the question of whether the money has been well spent. To begin to address this question, we extend our previous results to provide a preliminary indication of the cost-effectiveness of these expenditures and to identify gaps in the cost-effectiveness literature.

To accomplish this goal, we link the previously reported spending data with data from the CEA (Cost-Effectiveness Analysis) Registry maintained by Tufts Medical Center. The Registry is a nationally and internationally known and respected resource containing detailed, standardized information on more than 2,800 published cost-effectiveness analyses evaluating a wide range of medical and health interventions. Each paper catalogued in the Registry estimates the cost-effectiveness as an intervention’s incremental costs (expressed here in 2010 U.S. dollars) divided by its health benefits quantified in terms of quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) (2). Low cost-effectiveness ratios are “favorable” because they indicate that incremental QALYs can be accrued inexpensively.  Read more