Patients Value Metastatic Cancer Therapy More Highly Than Is Typically Shown Through Traditional Estimates

Published in: Health Affairs, v. 31, no. 4, Apr. 2012, p. 691-699

Posted on RAND.org on April 01, 2012

by Seth A. Seabury, Dana P. Goldman, J. Ross Maclean, John R. Penrod, Darius N. Lakdawalla

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There is a growing emphasis on promoting medical treatments that provide the most benefits relative to their costs. However, objective criteria for determining the value patients receive from treatment are lacking. This study used data on the treatment choices of terminally ill patients to estimate the value they associate with care. We found that patients place high valuations on metastatic cancer therapy—on average, twenty-three times higher than its cost—and that other traditional methods used to estimate the value of these treatments for patients significantly undervalues how patients view them. Our methods provide another framework for an evidence-based approach to assessing the value of treatments for terminal illness.

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