In January 2009, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence introduced supplementary guidance for end-of-life (EoL) treatments, which allowed treatments with an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio over the regular threshold (£20 000-£30 000) to be recommended, if they satisfied the EoL criteria. The aims of this study were (1) to systematically review 10 years of EoL supplementary guidance implementation and explore how it could be improved, and (2) to create a framework for incorporating the uncertainty relating to EoL criteria satisfaction into model-based cost-effectiveness analyses for decision making.
All appraisals between January 2009 and 2019 were screened for EoL discussions. Data were extracted on the EoL criteria and cost-effectiveness assessment details. Additionally, a quantitative method was developed to include the EoL criteria satisfaction uncertainty into model-based cost-effectiveness analyses. A stylized example was created to provide a case study for the inclusion of EoL criteria satisfaction uncertainty.
An EoL discussion was identified in 35% of appraisals, 57% of which led to a positive EoL decision. Only 5.7% of technologies with positive EoL decisions were not recommended, versus 43.8% of technologies with negative EoL decisions. EoL criteria assessment was often reported insufficiently and evaluated inconsistently and nontransparently. A total of 54.9% of EoL decisions were made while at least 1 criterion was surrounded by considerable uncertainty. By applying the proposed quantitative method, this EoL criteria satisfaction uncertainty was accounted for in decision making. The stylized example demonstrated that the impact of EoL criteria satisfaction uncertainty can be substantial enough to reverse the reimbursement decision.
To improve consistency/transparency and correct reimbursement decisions’ likelihood, new guidelines on the implementation of the EoL criteria are needed.
Josien Bovenberg Hannah Penton Nasuh Buyukkaramikli