More Imaginary Worlds: A Systematic Review of the Status of Modeled Cost-Effectiveness Claims Published in the Journal of Medical Economics from January 2016 to December 2016

  • Paul C Langley University of Minnesota
  • Taeho Greg Rhee Yale University
Keywords: Journal of Medical Economics, systemic review, cost-outcomes, imaginary worlds, evaluation


In 2016 a review of modeled cost-effectiveness studies published in the Journal of Medical Economics between January 2015 and December 2015 was presented in INNOVATIONS in Pharmacy. The purpose of this review, together with similar reviews for studies published in calendar 2015 in Value in Health and Pharmacoeconomics, was to consider whether these modeled claims for cost-effectiveness met the standards of normal science: were the claims made credible, evaluable and replicable? A total of 32 studies were identified. None of the studies presented their claims or projections in an evaluable form and none suggested how they might be evaluated. None met the standards of normal science. The claims made for cost-effectiveness were either impossible to verify, or if potentially verifiable, were not presented in an evaluable form. The studies lacked credibility. There was no basis for assessing whether the claims were right or even if they were wrong. The purpose of the present review which covers cost-effectiveness studies published in the Journal of Medical Economics between January 2016 and December 2016 is to revisit this question of the credibility of the claims made against the standards of normal science. A total of 40 cost-effectiveness studies were identified. Although 14 had a timeframe of 5 years or less and hand the potential to provide short-term evaluable claims, none addressed the issue of claims evaluation and the possible protocols that would support empirical assessment. Of the balance, 19 presented results as unevaluable lifetime modeled claims. The conclusions from the 2016 review remain unchanged.


Type: Commentary


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Received 2017-07-28
Published 2017-09-26
Formulary Evaluations