OBJECTIVES: ISPOR, iHEA, and HTAi regularly organize congresses in the fi eld of
health economics. Given the number of abstracts accepted each year it is crucial to assess
their credibility and how results of cost-effectiveness analyses differ across meetings.
METHODS: We collected all abstracts published 2007-2009 at ISPOR (International
and Europe), HTAi and iHEA meetings. Abstracts on cost comparison, cost of treatment,
cost benefi t, cost consequences, cost-effectiveness, cost minimization and cost
utility analyses were reviewed in depth according to a reading grid which allowed
extraction of essential information that could enable evidence-based decision-making in
health policy. This included e.g. availability of key methodological parameters, involvement
of the industry in authorship and details of conclusions. RESULTS: We analyzed
5488 abstracts from ISPOR, 1410 from HTAi and 1969 from iHEA. Our preliminary
results show that cost-effectiveness studies constituted 15%, 12% and 7% of all
abstracts presented at ISPOR, iHEA and HTAi respectively. Non-drug technologies
ranged from 11% at ISPOR to nearly 30% for HTAi and were excluded. 32% of analyses
used best standard of care as comparator and 10% did not specify the comparator.
Approx. Twenty percent of abstracts did not report discount rates, 28% the nature of
costs included in analysis and 10% the time horizon. a total of 52% of analyses reported
results as a point estimate of cost per QALY. 15% of abstracts submitted to ISPOR
were not co-authored by the industry, 50% at HTAi and above that at iHEA. Analyses
which judged the assessed drug to be cost-effective, cost-saving or dominant made up
82%, 70% and below 50% at ISPOR, HTAi and iHEA respectively. CONCLUSIONS:
ISPOR is a congress preferred by the industry and a high proportion of abstracts
reported favourable conclusions. This trend diminished for HTAi and further for iHEA.
The quality of abstracts is not satisfactory for informed decision-making.