Life: quality, value and justice

Health Policy. 1988;10(3):259-66. doi: 10.1016/0168-8510(88)90061-9.


The claim is questioned that QALYs (quality adjusted life years) provide an effective measure of beneficial health care and of cost-effective and or efficient health care and allow for a morally defensible way of distributing scarce health resources. It is argued the QALYs: (1) fallaciously value time lived instead of individual lives; (2) take an excessively narrow view of what quality of life might be; and finally and perhaps most importantly (3) they are unjust.

MeSH terms

  • Economics*
  • Health Care Rationing*
  • Human Rights*
  • Humans
  • Patient Selection*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Resource Allocation*
  • Social Justice*
  • Value of Life*