Background: While standard methods for conducting economic evaluations have evolved, little attention has been paid to the conduct of these studies in special populations such as children.
Objectives: To build a database of pediatric economic evaluations and to examine trends in publication characteristics over a 20-year period.
Research design: The database was created through a multisource search strategy, manual review, application of inclusion/exclusion criteria, data extraction, and reliability assessment. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize trends in publication volume, disease category, intervention type, and age group between 1980 and 1999.
Results: From an initial cut of 5600 citations identified from 12 journal databases, 787 were included as full pediatric economic evaluations. Volume of publications increased 7-fold between 1980 to 1984 and 1995 to 1999 from 61 to 440 citations per 5-year period. Most studies were performed in children aged 1 to 12 years, and studies in infants displayed an increasing frequency. The most common disease category was infective/parasitic, comprising 24% of studies. Studies of congenital anomalies and complications of pregnancy were also prominent. Although health prevention studies were the most prevalent, health treatment studies demonstrated an equal frequency in 1995 to 1999. Most studies consisted of malaria control and vaccination strategies for hepatitis B, Haemophilus influenzae type B, measles, and varicella.
Conclusions: The number of pediatric economic evaluations is steadily increasing with most publications representing health prevention interventions. The Pediatric Economic Database Evaluation (PEDE) Project database will be valuable to health researchers working in methods research and conducting systematic reviews.