Discounting in the evaluation of the cost-effectiveness of a vaccination programme: A critical review.

Jit, M; Mibei, W; (2015) Discounting in the evaluation of the cost-effectiveness of a vaccination programme: A critical review. Vaccine. ISSN 0264-410X DOI:

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Discounting future costs and health benefits usually has a large effect on results of cost-effectiveness evaluations of vaccination because of delays between the initial expenditure in the programme and the health benefits from averting disease. Most guidelines currently recommend discounting both costs and health effects at a positive, constant, common rate back to a common point in time. A review of 84 published economic evaluations of vaccines found that most of them apply these recommendations. However, both technical and normative arguments have been presented for discounting health at a different rate to consumption (differential discounting), discounting at a rate that changes over time (non-constant discounting), discounting intra-generational and inter-generational effects at a different rate (two-stage discounting), and discounting the health gains from an intervention to a different discount year from the time of intervention (delayed discounting). These considerations are particularly acute for vaccines, because their effects can occur in a different generation from the one paying for them, and because the time of vaccination, of infection aversion, and of disease aversion usually differ. Using differential, two-stage or delayed discounting in model-based cost-effectiveness evaluations of vaccination raises technical challenges, but mechanisms have been proposed to overcome them.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health > Dept of Infectious Disease Epidemiology
Research Centre: Vaccine Centre
PubMed ID: 26144897
Web of Science ID: 358460500003


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