Economic evaluation in the National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network: Past, present, and future

J Subst Abuse Treat. 2020 Mar:112S:18-27. doi: 10.1016/j.jsat.2020.02.002.


Economic evaluations provide evidence that informs stakeholders on how to efficiently allocate real and financial healthcare resources. The purpose of this study was to review and discuss the integration of economic evaluations into the National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network (CTN) since its inception, as well as expectations for the future of this relationship. A systematic review was performed on published and planned CTN economic evaluations in the CTN dissemination library and PubMed. The well-established Drummond checklist was used to evaluate the comprehensiveness and methodological rigor of published articles. One hundred thirty-eight ancillary, follow-up, or original protocols were reviewed, and 78 potentially relevant published articles were identified. A total number of 14 protocols included an economic evaluation. Of these, 6 protocols were completed, 2 were reported as active, and 6 were reported as in-development at the time of this review. Of the 78 published articles, 9 met the inclusion criteria. As gauged by the Drummond checklist, the quality of CTN published economic evaluations were found to improve over time, and recent published articles were identified as guides to cutting-edge economic research. As the CTN continues to grow and mature, it is imperative that high-quality economic evaluations are incorporated alongside trials in order to maximize the public health impact of the CTN.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Humans
  • Substance-Related Disorders* / therapy