Estimating a cost-effectiveness threshold for the Spanish NHS

from Health Economics at on December 28, 2017 at 08:44AM


The cost of generating a quality-adjusted life year (QALY) within a National Health Service provides an approximation of the average opportunity cost of funding decisions. This information can be used to inform a cost-effectiveness threshold. The aim of this paper is to estimate the cost per QALY at the Spanish National Health Service. We exploit variation across 17 regional health services and the exogenous changes in expenditure that took place as a consequence of the economic crisis over 5 years of data. We conduct fixed effect models and use an instrumental variable approach to test for potential remaining endogeneity. Our results show that health expenditure has a positive and significant effect on population health, with an average spending elasticity of 0.07. This translates into a cost per QALY of between 22,000€ and 25,000€. These values are below the cost-effectiveness threshold figure of 30,000€ commonly cited in Spain.