Who Is Sowing Seeds of Confusion About The QALY?
Industry sponsorship of patient advocacy groups opposing the QALY threatens to undermine not just the QALY but also an objective analysis of policy decisions.
Since the 1970s, health economists and policymakers have relied on the QALY, or quality-adjusted life year, as a metric for measuring the tradeoff between fiscal realities and public health needs.
However, its wide acceptance is notwithstanding, as there is a minority view that it undervalues what a drug does for patients and threatens the future development of drugs to treat rare and debilitating conditions. This has been the recent position of many advocacy groups, which not only share incendiary language in their attacks but also substantial funding by pharmaceutical companies.
In 2015 alone, the pharmaceutical industry spent more than $160 million on advocacy groups. The same also regularly use QALY to make the case for their products and prices. So why fund their opposition? The answer may lie in independent value assessments, which often find that drugs' prices exceed their value.
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