Cost–Benefit Analysis and Health Care Evaluations, Second Edition

Cost–Benefit Analysis and Health Care Evaluations, Second Edition

Robert J. Brent

Cost–benefit analysis is the only method of economic evaluation that can effectively indicate whether a health care treatment or intervention is worthwhile. In this thoroughly updated and revised second edition, Robert Brent expands the scope of the field by including the latest concepts and applications throughout all regions of the world. This book attempts to strengthen the link between cost–benefit analysis and the mainstream health care evaluation field, which is dominated by non-economists. The need to build a bridge between the two is more important than ever before, as the general understanding of cost-benefit analysis appears to have regressed.

Chapter 14: Methods for measuring the benefits of HIV/AIDS interventions

Robert J. Brent

Subjects: economics and finance, health policy and economics, valuation, environment, valuation, social policy and sociology, health policy and economics


In this text we have covered the four main methods for carrying out economic evaluations of interventions in the health care field, cost minimization (CM), cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA), cost–utility analysis (CUA) and cost–benefit analysis (CBA). We followed this approach because the majority of those carrying out economic evaluations in the health care field do not use CBA. We wanted to show that using CM, CEA and CUA was effectively using an incomplete CBA methodology. By explaining what is missing from the other methods one could appreciate better what CBA has to offer. Nonetheless, as we have pointed out throughout the book, only a CBA can actually tell us what we need to know – is an evaluation socially worthwhile or not? Since all four evaluation methods use costs, what is important is how one measures benefits (B), that is, how one puts monetary valuations on outcomes. One conclusion very apparent from this text is that there is more than one way to estimate the benefits. In this last chapter we are going to present all the main methods for measuring benefits in the context of evaluations of intervening for one particular disease, HIV/AIDS. For each method we will present the advantages and disadvantages, and thereby indicate their relative strengths and weaknesses.

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