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Willingness to pay for quality and length of life gains in end of life patients of different ages

Vivian Reckers-Droog, Job van Exel () and Werner Brouwer ()

Social Science & Medicine, 2021, vol. 279, issue C

Abstract: Health gains are increasingly weighted in economic evaluations of new health technologies to guide resource-allocation decisions in healthcare. In Norway and the Netherlands weights are, for example, based on the disease severity of patients. In England and Wales, a higher weight is attached to quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) gained from life-extending end-of-life (EOL) treatments. Societal preferences for QALY gains in EOL patients are increasingly examined. Although the available evidence suggests that gains in health-related quality of life (QOL) may be preferred to gains in life expectancy (LE), little is known about the influence of EOL patients’ age on these preferences. In this study, we examine the willingness to pay (WTP) for QOL and LE gains in EOL patients of different ages in a sample (n = 803) of the general public in the Netherlands. We found that WTP was relatively higher for QOL and LE gains in younger EOL patients. We further found indications suggesting that WTP may be relatively higher for QOL gains at the EOL, except for patients aged 20 for whom we observed a higher WTP for LE gains. Our results may inform discussions on attaching differential weights to QOL and LE gains in EOL patients of different ages with the objective to better align resource-allocation decisions with societal preferences.

Keywords: Willingness to pay; QALYs; Age; Severity; End of life; Priority setting (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2021.113987

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