Objectives: Academic researchers and physicians have called for greater use of cost-effectiveness analyses in informing treatment and reimbursement decisions. This study examines the availability of cost-effectiveness analyses for medical devices, in terms of both the number of studies and when studies are published.
Study design: Analysis of the number of years between FDA approval/clearance and publication for cost-effectiveness analyses of medical devices in the United States published between 2002 and 2020 (n = 86).
Methods: Cost-effectiveness analyses of medical devices were identified using the Tufts University Cost-Effectiveness Analysis Registry. Studies in which the model and manufacturer of the medical device used in the intervention were identifiable were linked to FDA databases. Years between FDA approval/clearance and publication of cost-effectiveness analyses were calculated.
Results: A total of 218 cost-effectiveness analyses of medical devices in the United States published between 2002 and 2020 were identified. Of these studies, 86 (39.4%) were linked to FDA databases. Studies examining devices approved via premarket approval were published a mean of 6.0 years after the device received FDA approval (median, 4 years), whereas studies examining devices that were cleared via the 510(k) process were published a mean of 6.5 years after the device received FDA clearance (median, 5 years).
Conclusions: There are few studies describing the cost-effectiveness of medical devices. Most of these studies' findings are not published until several years after the studied devices received FDA approval/clearance, meaning that decision makers will likely not have evidence of cost-effectiveness when making initial decisions related to newly available medical devices.