Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Twitter exchange recalls classic economic analysis: The problem of future costs [wonky]

Emma Sandoe and Austin Frakt had a twitter exchange that raised classic questions of "future costs" in medical cost-effectiveness:
Suppose I implemented an intervention in the year 2000 that controlled your blood pressure so you didn’t die of a stroke in 2005. When I consider the cost of the intervention, should I consider the cost of treating the heart attack you survived in 2010? How about the cost of the eyeglasses, Lipitor, and Viagra you will be alive to consume in future years? What about the cost of that hamburger you enjoyed in 2007? Should this count as a cost of the intervention, too?
Yup. For more, see my Incidental Economist posting here 

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