QALY weights for neurosensory impairments in pediatric economic evaluations: case studies and a critique
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The use of utility weights for the calculation of quality-adjusted life years is particularly problematic for pediatric health states. This article reviews variability in utility weights for intellectual disability and permanent hearing loss in economic evaluations of newborn screening and childhood immunizations. Utility weights for severe intellectual disability ranged from 0.06 to 0.74. Most studies either did not vary these utility weights in sensitivity analyses or assumed low variability; consequently, the robustness of cost-effectiveness estimates was not fully assessed. Two recently published catalogs of utility weights for pediatric health states also show wide divergences in estimates. More work is needed to establish measures of health utilities for childhood health states in order to allow for comparable assessments of pediatric interventions.
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