What do international pharmacoeconomic guidelines say about economic data transferability?
Objectives: The objectives of this article were to assess the positions of the various national pharmacoeconomic guidelines on the transferability (or lack of transferability) of clinical and economic data and to review the methods suggested in the guidelines for addressing issues of transferability. Methods: A review of existing national pharmacoeconomic guidelines was conducted to assess recommendations on the transferability of clinical and economic data, whether there are important differences between countries, and whether common methodologies have been suggested to address key transferability issues. Pharmacoeconomic guidelines were initially identified through the ISPOR Web site. In addition, those national guidelines not included in the ISPOR Web site, but known to us, were also considered. Results: Across 27 sets of guidelines, baseline risk and unit costs were uniformly considered to be of low transferability, while treatment effect was classified as highly transferable. Results were more variable for resource use and utilities, which were considered to have low transferability in 63% and 45% of cases, respectively. There were some differences between older and more recent guidelines in the treatment of transferability issues. Conclusions: A growing number of jurisdictions are using guidelines for the economic evaluation of pharmaceuticals. The recommendations in existing guidelines regarding the transferability of clinical and economic data are quite diverse. There is a case for standardization in dealing with transferability issues. One important step would be to update guidelines more frequently.