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European Value of a Quality Adjusted Life Year

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Q Methodology

Little is known across Europe about the views of senior decision makers and members of the public as to the relative importance of either different types of health gain (e.g. from quality of life gains only or from extending or saving life) or the characteristics of beneficiaries from health gains (e.g. by age group). Through work package 7, new data would be produced on this by application of a method which is very new to health economics (i.e. Q methodology).

Cluster 3 - Work package 7

It is important to recognise that preferences for QALYs depend not only on how many QALYs are produced, but also (and crucially) on the sizes and nature of the two main QALY parameters (e.g. whether QALYs gained stem from life saving or life extending interventions as opposed to those which add to quality of life only). Likewise, citizens will have perspectives on the characteristics of QALY beneficiaries (e.g. is a QALY to a younger person worth more than one to an older person or vice versa?). Building on from this, and adding to the policy relevance of the work, some of our QALY-scenarios are planned to reflect the expected types of gains from some current 'hot button' programmes which are posing challenges for many European countries (e.g. herceptin). Furthermore, and with a view to designing future surveys, a methodology new to health economics, Q-methodology, will be used with small samples of decision-makers and members of the public (as well as the academic teams) in each of the participating countries to examine the issues of importance in relation to different ways of constructing QALYs (e.g. those arising from survival gains versus those arising from quality of life gains only) as well as the introduction of wider factors (i.e. the characteristics of beneficiaries of health care). This methodology's explained in more detail under work package 7 below.