Health economics of gastroesophageal reflux disease.
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The present study provides an overview of the current state of health economics studies of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). It indicates the strengths and weaknesses of individual studies, and the state of health economics analysis in general as they apply to GERD. Specifically, this study adopts a pharmacoeconomic perspective, which is a subsection of health economics analytical methods, to provide a comparative analysis of alternative courses of action based on cost and consequence. The pharmacoeconomic outlook is most effective when it considers a comprehensive societal perspective, with special consideration given to other relevant viewpoints, such as the payer, the primary provider and, most important, the patient. Pharmacoeconomics provides several specific analytical techniques for GERD-related health economics analysis. The Canadian Association of Gastroenterology consensus conference on GERD in 1996 thought that a cost effective analysis was the most appropriate technique to assess the pharmacoeconomics of GERD. Six previous studies on GERD health economics have been performed comparing omeprazole with H2 receptor antagonists. These studies vary in cost data collected and in analytical techniques. In general, the existing outcome measurements of these previous health economics studies are not ideal. Namely, they combine various GERD grades, use randomized controls, are endoscopically based, assess pharmaceutical therapy only and are short term. More appropriate health economic trials in GERD, which focus on GERD management strategies and therapeutic treatment of GERD, need to be designed and conducted. These economic assessments, however, should not replace detailed thinking, careful observation, good judgement and common sense.
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