EuroVaQ – European Value of a Quality Adjusted Life Year

From March 2007 to February 2010
Project Leader(s): Professor Cam Donaldson, Dr Rachel Baker
Staff: Sue Bell, Helen Mason, Michael Jones-Lee, Emily Lancsar, John Wildman
Contact: Dr Rachel Baker
Sponsors: European Commission

EuroVaQ website

A major issue in cost effectiveness analysis is that of the value to place on a quality adjusted life year (QALY), commonly used as a measure of health care effectiveness across Europe. This has come to the fore in several European countries, resulting from the creation of national health technology and pharmaceutical assessment agencies. Such agencies were established to make recommendations on technology adoption, addressing issues of affordability and sustainability of publicly-funded health care systems. Recommendations are most often made on the basis of QALYs produced relative to costs incurred. Methods of estimating cost per QALY, based on rigorous decision analytic models, are now very sophisticated. However, ‘threshold’ values adopted (such as £20-40,000 per QALY above or below which a new therapy will be rejected or recommended for adoption in England) are essentially arbitrary, with little or no economic foundation. This critical policy issue is reflected in the growing interest across Europe in development of more sound methods to elicit such a value.

The aim of this research would, therefore, be to develop robust methods to determine the monetary value of a QALY across a number of European Member States.

This would be addressed in two ways: through ‘modelling’ such a value based on values of statistical lives currently used (or implicit values from adoption decisions in various fields) across Member States; and through survey research to test two methods of deriving a societal willingness-to-pay (WTP) based monetary value of a QALY.

University of East Anglia
University of Aberdeen
University of Tromso
University of Southern Denmark
Swedish Institute of Health Economics, Lund
INSERM Research Unit 379 ‘Social Science Applied to Medicine’, Universitee de la Mediterranee Aix-Marseille
Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Sevilla
Birzeit University
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Jagiellonian University Medical College, Kraków
Corvinus University Budapest
University of York


Sue Bell
PA to Professor Ashley Adamson and Public Health Improvement Administrator