Assessments of the Value of New Interventions Should Include Health Equity Impact

Pharmacoeconomics. 2022 May;40(5):489-495. doi: 10.1007/s40273-022-01131-z. Epub 2022 Mar 3.


A formal evaluation of the health equity impact of a new intervention is hardly ever performed as part of a health technology assessment to understand its value. This should change, in our view. An evidence-based quantitative assessment of the health equity impact can help decision makers develop coverage policies, programme designs, and quality initiatives focused on optimizing both total health and health equity given the treatment options available. We outline the conceptual basis of how a new intervention can impact health equity and adopt distributional cost-effectiveness analysis based on decision-analytic models to assess this quantitatively, using a newly US FDA-approved drug for Alzheimer's disease (aducanumab) as an example. We argue that gaps in the evidence base for the new intervention, for example, due to limited clinical research participation among racial and ethnic minority groups, do not preclude such an evaluation. Understanding these uncertainties has implications for fair pricing, decision making, and future research. If we are serious about population-level decision making that not only is focused on improving total health but also aims to improve health equity, we should consider routinely assessing the health equity impact of new interventions.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Ethnicity
  • Health Equity*
  • Humans
  • Minority Groups
  • Technology Assessment, Biomedical