Health is often regarded as the most precious good of all. This is frequently illustrated by the widespread opinion that no expense should be spared to maintain one's health. However, in most societies the awareness that health care expenditure should be controlled in one way or another is highly prevalent. In most Western countries health care expenditure expanded substantially over the past decades, not only in absolute terms but also as a proportion of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In 2000, The Netherlands, Switzerland and the USA spent 8.1 o/o, 10.7 o/o and 13.0% of their GDP on health care. In the same countries in 1980 the expenditure for health care was 7.5o/o, 7.6% and 8.7%, respectively ('Vv11! In the face of mounting pressure to contain health care resource consumption, policy-makers are increasingly forced to consider an economics perspective when judging whether a new medical technology should be financed.

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Swiss Acade1py of Medical Sciences, Roche Pharma AG, Switzerland and Aventis Pharma AG, Switzerland
F.F.H. Rutten (Frans)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM)

Sendi, P. (2005, January 6). Decision rules and uncertainty in the economic evaluation of health care technologies. Retrieved from