Published: 25 May 2017
Author(s): Sabrina Trippoli
Issue: May 2017
Section: Letter to the Editor

In evaluating the cost/effectiveness of therapeutic interventions (e.g. those based on innovative drugs or on Class-III medical devices), two main pharmacoeconomic parameters have been used over the past decades: the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER [1–3])1 and the net monetary benefit (NMB [4–6])1. The ICER and the NMB share some common features because they both require a pre-defined willingness-to-pay threshold (WTPt) and the acceptance of quality-adjusted life years (QALYs). Despite this, the differences between these two parameters prevail over the common features, and involve both theoretical and practical issues that can be summarised as follows: (i) the ICER is more suitable for speculative pharmacoeconomic research, whereas the NMB has a more “practical” nature and deals with the application of pharmacoeconomics in real life; (ii) from a mathematical viewpoint, the ICER is more complex than the NMB because the relationship between ICER and costs is nonlinear while the relationship between NMB and costs is linear; (iii) the “typical” health professionals, who are likely to be involved in real-life pharmacoeconomic decisions, are more familiar with ICER than with NMB, whereas the opposite would be preferable; (iiii) as a matter of fact, the ICER is used much more frequently than the NMB, but this simply reflects the greater use of pharmacoeconomics for speculative purposes than for practical applications.

Newsletters

Stay informed on our latest news!