Reducing uncertainty in health-care resource allocation
Journal article, 2007

A key task for health policymakers is to optimise the outcome of health care interventions. The pricing of a new generation of cancer drugs, in combination with limited health care resources, has highlighted the need for improved methodology to estimate outcomes of different treatment options. Here we introduce new general methodology, which for the first time employs continuous hazard functions for analysis of survival data. Access to continuous hazard functions allows more precise estimations of survival outcomes for different treatment options. We illustrate the methodology by calculating outcomes for adjuvant treatment of gastrointestinal stromal tumours with imatinib mesylate, which selectively inhibits the activity of a cancer-causing enzyme and is a hallmark representative for the new generation of cancer drugs. The calculations reveal that optimal drug pricing can generate all win situations that improve drug availability to patients, make the most of public expenditure on drugs and increase pharmaceutical company gross profits. The use of continuous hazard functions for analysis of survival data may reduce uncertainty in health care resource allocation, and the methodology can be used for drug price negotiations and to investigate health care intervention thresholds. Health policy makers, pharmaceutical industry, reimbursement authorities and insurance companies, as well as clinicians and patient organisations, should find the methodology useful.

Survival Analysis

*Quality-Adjusted Life Years

Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors/economics/mortality/surgery/therapy

*Delivery of Health Care


Proportional Hazards Models

Resource Allocation/*methods


Retrospective Studies


Tomas Simonsson

University of Gothenburg

Katarina Sjölund

University of Gothenburg

Per Bümming

University of Gothenburg

Håkan Ahlman

University of Gothenburg

Bengt E Nilsson

University of Gothenburg

Anders Odén

Chalmers, Mathematical Sciences

University of Gothenburg

British Journal of Cancer

0007-0920 (ISSN) 1532-1827 (eISSN)

Vol. 96 12 1834-8

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