The adoption of cost-effectiveness acceptability curves in cost-utility analyses

Med Decis Making. 2010 May-Jun;30(3):314-9. doi: 10.1177/0272989X09344749. Epub 2009 Sep 22.


Background: Cost-effectiveness acceptability curves (CEACs) plot the probability that one health intervention is more cost-effective than alternatives, as a function of societal willingness to pay for additional units of health (e.g., life-years or quality-adjusted life-years gained).

Objectives: To quantify the adoption of CEACs in published cost-utility analyses (CUAs), and to identify factors associated with CEAC use.

Methods: Data from the Tufts Medical Center Cost-Effectiveness Analysis Registry (, a database with detailed information on approximately 1,400 CUAs published in the peer reviewed literature through 2006, was analyzed. The registry includes data on study origin, study methodology, reporting of results, whether CEACs were presented, and a subjective quality score. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to identify factors predicting CEAC use, from their introduction in 1994 through 2006.

Results: Approximately 15% of CUAs published since 1994 present a CEAC. The use of CEACs has increased rapidly in recent years, from 2.1% of published CUAs in 2001 to 32.6% in 2006 (P < 0.0001). The most significant predictors of CEAC use were study quality (odds ratio [OR]: 2.26; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.80, 2.85), recent publication (OR: 1.99; 95% CI: 1.73, 2.29), and whether studies pertain to the UK (OR: 5.66; 95% CI: 3.67, 8.72) or Sweden (OR: 3.76; 95% CI: 1.67, 8.44).

Conclusions: CEAC use is increasing in the published cost-effectiveness literature, especially in UK-based studies.

MeSH terms

  • Bibliometrics*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis / methods*
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Models, Statistical
  • Periodicals as Topic
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years*
  • Registries
  • Research Design*