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Free Content A systematic review of economic evaluation studies of tuberculosis control in high-income countries

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Tuberculosis (TB) is a leading cause of death in developing countries and an important health threat in the industrialised world. Ideally, interventions in TB control are effective, acceptable and economically attractive. This review summarises all economic evaluation studies of TB control in high-income countries over the last 20 years. We provide indications on the relative economic attractiveness of TB interventions based on the reported conclusions. A total of 118 studies using different economic evaluation methodologies on a wide range of TB interventions are included. Most studies (70%) were from North America, and about half (47%) concerned interventions among the general population. Even though the large majority of studies (85%) aimed at preventing active TB disease, 44% of these ignored the prevention of secondary infections, thereby under- estimating the bene ts of the intervention. Choosing a health care instead of a societal perspective (92% vs. 8%) further underestimated the bene ts. Moreover, 74 studies (62%) disregarded discounting, and for 9 of them this led to overestimated future costs. In all, 66% of the studies reported conclusions favouring the evaluated intervention, which is modest given that a publishing bias towards favourable results is to be expected. In conclusion, we demonstrate that many studies in this review have put the evaluated TB intervention at a disadvantage by the choice of methodology, i. e., underestimating bene ts and overestimating costs. This may have led to an overly conservative approach to the introduction of new interventions in TB control.
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Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Public Health, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam 2: Department of Primary and Community Care, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, Nijmegen 3: Department of Public Health, Erasmus MC, University Medical Center Rotterdam, Rotterdam; Department of Infectious Disease Control, Municipal Public Health Service Rotterdam-Rijnmond, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Publication date: December 1, 2011

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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