Afschin Gandjour, MD, PhD
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Gandjour A. Economic Analysis of Influenza Vaccination and Treatment. Ann Intern Med. 2003;138:607-608. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-138-7-200304010-00023
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2003;138(7):607-608.
TO THE EDITOR:
Lee and colleagues present a cost–benefit analysis on influenza vaccination and treatment for healthy working adults from a societal perspective (1). To determine the monetary benefit of vaccination and treatment, they asked primary care patients about their willingness to pay for a personal benefit. Although this approach is quite common (2), it has two problems.
First, from a societal viewpoint, primary care patients may not be the right persons to ask. The authoritative guidelines of the U.S. Panel on Cost-Effectiveness in Health and Medicine (3) recommend eliciting the preferences of the community or general population, not those of patients. This approach ensures that respondents are blind to self-interest and have no vested interest in particular health states. In many studies, however, investigators refrain from surveying the general population. They may assume that the general population is not familiar with the disease in question. However, this is not a problem with influenza.
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