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Asukai, Yumi; Briggs, Andrew; Garrison, Louis P.; Geisler, Benjamin P.; Neumann, Peter J.; Ollendorf, Daniel A. (2021): Principles of Economic Evaluation in a Pandemic Setting: An Expert Panel Discussion on Value Assessment During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic. In: PharmacoEconomics, Vol. 39, No. 11: pp. 1201-1208
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Abstract

As the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic continues to generate significant morbidity and mortality as well as economic and societal impacts, the landscape of potential treatments has slowly begun to broaden. In the case of a novel disease with widespread consequences, society is more likely to place significant value on interventions that reduce the outsized economic burden of COVID-19. Treatments for severe disease will have a different value profile to that of large-scale vaccines because of their application in targeted and potentially small subsets of those with symptomatic disease vs broad deployment as a preventative measure. Where vaccines reduce transmissibility of COVID-19, use of therapeutics will target symptoms, up to and including death for infected individuals. This paper describes discussions from a virtual expert panel that met to attempt a consensus on how existing principles of economic evaluation should be applied to therapeutics that emerge in a pandemic setting, with specific focus on severe hospitalised cases of COVID-19. The panel concluded that the core principles of economic evaluation do not need to be drastically overhauled to meet the challenges of a pandemic, but that there are several additional elements of value such as equity, disease severity, insurance value, and scientific and family spillover effects that should be considered when presenting results to decision makers. The panel also highlighted the persistent challenges on how society should value novel therapies, such as the appropriate cost-effectiveness threshold to apply, which are particularly salient during a pandemic.