Mauskopf J. Prevalence-based economic evaluation. Value Health. 1998 Nov 1;1(4):251-9.

Objective: Researchers have often stated that economic evaluations of new drugs have rarely been used to inform healthcare decisions, despite the large volume of published studies. In this paper, a new categorization for economic evaluations of new drugs is proposed: incidence-based and prevalence-based. This categorization is designed to increase the likelihood that decisionmakers are given more complete and useable economic information about new treatments.

Results: Incidence-based evaluations (such as cost-effectiveness analysis) focus on the impact of a new treatment on a health condition from onset until cure or death. Prevalence-based evaluations focus on the impact of a new treatment on a health condition during a 1-year period. An incidence-based evaluation may focus either on a representative individual or on a specific disease cohort. A prevalence-based evaluation generally focuses on a specific population. Incidence-based evaluations measure the value of the new treatment compared to alternative treatments for the same health conditions and compared to commonly used treatments for other health conditions. Prevalence-based evaluations measure the impact of introducing the new treatment on annual healthcare budgets and population health.

Conclusion: Both types of evaluation provide important information when a new treatment is introduced to a population.

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