Economic evaluations have become an essential part of reimbursement decisions in a wide range of countries. To ensure high quality, a variety of checklists with different purposes have been developed and implemented enabling assessment of these evaluations. Three of these checklists are most frequently used and are recommended by the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews for critical appraisal (Drummond, CHEC and Philips). Every checklist is developed with a different purpose having, for example, a focus on reporting or conducting and on modeling or trial-based evaluations. This review outlines the heterogeneity in choice and implementation of these quality checklists in an incorrect manner. This ultimately results in under- and even possibly overestimation of quality of included economic evaluations. More guidance in selecting correct checklists suiting the purpose of the quality check is therefore of utmost importance. Moreover, it appears that current checklists are lacking detailed disease-specific guidance resulting in models not correctly reflecting disease progression. Therefore, outcomes indicate that the problem of the wide variability of methodological choices is prevalent in some other disease areas too, regardless of the availability of quality checklists. More international collaboration should therefore be initiated in developing and publishing standardized and open source disease-specific reference models to overcome this problem.

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Expert Review of Pharmacoeconomics & Outcomes Research
Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM)

Frederix, G., Severens, H., & Hövels, A. (2015). Use of quality checklists and need for disease-specific guidance in economic evaluations: a meta-review. Expert Review of Pharmacoeconomics & Outcomes Research (Vol. 15, pp. 675–685). doi:10.1586/14737167.2015.1069185