Cost-effectiveness league tables: think of the fans

M. Drummond, J. Mason, G. Torrance

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In a recent issue of Health Policy, Birch and Gafni argued against the use of cost-effectiveness league tables in health care decision making. They argued that league tables should be returned to where they are best used and understood - the sports pages. Recently the debate about the presentation and interpretation of cost-effectiveness data has been given an additional impetus in the UK through the publication, by the Department of Health, of the Register of Cost-Effectiveness Studies (RCES). During the production of the RCES, it became apparent that there were similarities between the decision makers' thirst for economic data and the sports fans' thirst for information about their team. In this paper we review the pros and cons of using published cost-effectiveness data in decision making, compared with the local team approach suggested by Birch and Gafni. We conclude that there are advantages from using published data, providing these are produced according to standardized methods and interpreted intelligently, Most importantly, cost-effectiveness data, whether published or generated locally, are unlikely to give decision makers a technical solution to the resource allocation problem. Rather, they should be viewed as a stimulus for local discussion and debate.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)231-238
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Policy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1995

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