Economics, health and health economics: HYEs versus QALYs
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This paper responds to Culyer and Wagstaff's (CW) and Buckingham's (B) arguments. We refute their claim about the equivalence of HYEs and QALYs; they fail to distinguish between choice under uncertainty and under certainty. CW assume that all individuals have a specific form of utility function, which yields their conclusion of equivalence. B's arguments confuse the measurement technique and the utility theory from which it stems; his argument about the normative superiority of the QALY construct is inconsistent with economic thinking. The HYE, by being compatible with the principles of economics, is superior to the QALY for economic evaluations of health care interventions.
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