QALY-maximisation and public preferences: results from a general population survey

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The appropriate criteria that should be used in setting priorities in a publicly funded health care system remain open to debate. From a health economics perspective, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) are increasingly portrayed as a measure of societal value and the criterion of QALY maximisation is then advocated. This paper reports a study that investigated the extent to which some of the assumptions underlying the QALY maximisation approach, notably constant marginal societal value for increases in the size of health programmes, the level of risk, and the level of benefit are supported by members of the public. A general population interview-based survey was conducted. The survey design employed conjoint methods. In general, the public preference data from this study, in themselves, are not much at odds with the core proportionality assumptions concerning societal value in the QALY maximisation model assumptions. The data are, however, at odds with reports from various previous studies. Copyright (C) 2002 John Wiley Sons, Ltd.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)679-693
Number of pages15
JournalHealth Economics
Issue number8
Early online date1 Jan 2002
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2002


  • QALY-maximisation, public preference survey