Cost-effectiveness analysis as an aid to decision making has been increasingly publicized and discussed during the past two to three decades. However, the total body of cost-effectiveness analyses in health care is actually rather small, and high-quality studies are rather rare. Furthermore, the applications of economic analysis to health policy have been hampered by a number of problems, including those that are methodological and contextual. We consider a number of areas of public health policy but pay special attention to a growing area of inquiry and application: the overall coverage of health services. Cost-effectiveness analysis has played a relatively small role in general coverage decisions, but in recent years, it has been applied increasingly to decisions concerning pharmaceutical coverage. We speculate on concerning reasons for this particular focus in cost-effectiveness analysis. Future progress will depend heavily on discussion and consensus building.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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