Power and sample assessments for tests of hypotheses on cost-effectiveness ratios

Health Econ. 2000 Apr;9(3):227-34. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1099-1050(200004)9:3<227::aid-hec509>3.0.co;2-z.


We address the issue of statistical power and sample size for cost-effectiveness studies. Tests of hypotheses on the cost-effectiveness ratio (CER) are constructed from the net cost and incremental effectiveness measures. When the difference in effectiveness is known, we derive formulae for statistical power and sample size assessments for one- and two-sided tests of hypotheses of the CER. We also construct a test of the joint hypothesis of cost-effectiveness and effectiveness and derive an expression connecting power and sample size. Our methods account for the correlation between cost and effectiveness and lead to smaller sample size requirements than comparative methods that ignore the correlation. The implications of our formulae for cost-effectiveness studies are illustrated through numerical examples. When compared with trials designed to demonstrate effectiveness alone, our results indicate that a trial appropriately powered to demonstrate cost-effectiveness might require sample sizes many times greater.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Confidence Intervals*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis / statistics & numerical data*
  • Drug Evaluation / economics
  • Humans
  • Models, Econometric
  • Normal Distribution
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Research Design
  • Sample Size*