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For other uses, see PharmacoEconomics (journal).

Pharmacoeconomics refers to the scientific discipline that compares the value of one pharmaceutical drug or drug therapy to another.[1][2] It is a sub-discipline of health economics. A pharmacoeconomic study evaluates the cost (expressed in monetary terms) and effects (expressed in terms of monetary value, efficacy or enhanced quality of life) of a pharmaceutical product. Pharmacoeconomic studies serve to guide optimal healthcare resource allocation, in a standardized and scientifically grounded manner.

Economic evaluation[edit]

Pharmacoeconomics centres on the economic evaluation of pharmaceuticals, and can use cost-minimization analysis, cost-benefit analysis, cost-effectiveness analysis or cost-utility analysis. Quality-adjusted life years have become the dominant outcome of interest in pharmacoeconomic evaluations, and many studies employ a cost-per-QALY analysis. Economic evaluations are carried out alongside randomised controlled trials and using methods of decision-analytic modelling.

In policy[edit]

In 1993, Australia became the first nation to use pharmacoeconomic analysis as part of the process for deciding whether new drugs should be subsidised by the Federal Government. The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC) advises Federal Government ministers on whether new drugs should be placed on a list for of drugs that consumers can then purchase from pharmacies at a subsidised price. Since 1993, this approach to evaluating costs and benefits is used in Canada, Finland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and the UK.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mueller, C; Shur, C.; O'Connell, J. (1997). "Prescription Drug Spending: The Impact of Age and Chronic Disease Status.". American Journal of Public Health 87 (10): 1626–29. doi:10.2105/ajph.87.10.1626. 
  2. ^ Arnold RJG and Ekins S, Time for cooperation in health economics among the modeling community, PharmacoEconomics, 28(8):609-613, 2010

Further reading[edit]

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