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Cost-utility analysis is a special form of cost-effectiveness analysis where the health outcomes are measured in terms of a preference-based utility measure. Like cost-effectiveness analysis, this yields an outcome of the evaluation that is expressed in terms of a cost per unit effect. However, in contrast to cost-effectiveness analysis, provided this measure is considered to be a generic measure of health, then cost-utility analysis is sufficient to efficiently allocate resources from a fixed healthcare budget in terms of maximizing the health achievable from those fixed resources. Of crucial importance is the validity of the preference-based utility measure as a generic measure of health outcome that can be used to compare the allocation of resources across disease areas.

A number of different candidate utility measures have been ...

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