Considering consumer choice in the economic evaluation of mandatory health programmes: A review

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Journal Article
Health Policy, 2011, 101 (3), pp. 236 - 244
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Objective Governments are increasing their focus on mandatory public health programmes following positive economic evaluations of their impact. This review aims to examine whether loss of consumer choice should be included in economic evaluations of mandatory health programmes (MHP). Method A systematic literature review was conducted to identify economic evaluations of MHP, whether they discuss the impact on consumer choice and any methodological limitations. Results Overall 39 economic evaluations were identified, of which 10 discussed the loss of consumer choice and 6 attempted to place a value on the loss of consumer choice. Methodological limitations included: measuring the marginal cost of compliance, unavailability of price elasticity estimates, the impact of income effects, double counting health impacts, biased willingness-to-pay responses, and ï½protestï½ responses. Overall it was found that the inclusion of the loss of consumer choice rarely impacted on the final outcome of the study. Conclusion The impact of MHP on the loss of consumer choice has largely been ignored in economic evaluations. Its importance remains uncertain due to its infrequent inclusion and significant methodological limitations. Further research regarding which methodology is best for valuing the loss of consumer choice and whether it is important to the final implementation decision is warranted.
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