Priority Medicines for Europe and the World 2013 Update. Chapter 3 - Approaches to Priority Setting
(2013; 14 pages)


This chapter reviews the various approaches which have been used to set priorities for health research — both at the international and national level — and explains the rationale for the choice of methods used in this Project...There are two broad approaches to setting priorities for health research: the use of technical analyses, which rely on quantifiable epidemiologic, clinical, financial or other data; and the use of interpretive assessments, which rely on consensus views of informed participants. Technical approaches depend on the availability of data, and priorities tend to be based on measurable units such as diseases (burden of disease) or interventions (with respect to their costs and use). The difficulty with quantitative methodology is that it hides value judgments that might reflect those of stakeholders not involved in the methodology, such as users and payers of health care services. Interpretive or consensus stakeholder approaches relying on the subjective judgments of participants are, in theory, capable of dealing with value judgments and multifaceted assumptions, and they have been used for research priority setting in large, governmental agencies like the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Science and Technology Council of Australia, or even large pharmaceutical companies.

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