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May 4, 2011

What Next for QALYs?

JAMA. 2011;305(17):1806-1807. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.566

The quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) has come under fire lately. In the United States, health reform legislation prohibited use of cost-per-QALY thresholds.1 The United Kingdom has proposed that the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which has influenced reimbursement through cost-per-QALY ratios, will not in the future use such information to make yes or no recommendations; instead NICE's cost-effectiveness assessments would provide an input into price negotiations for technologies.2 In Germany, the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care implemented a new system for evaluating the value of medical technologies but rejected the cost-per-QALY model on ethical and methodological grounds.3 Many countries (including France, Spain, and Italy) have opted for other approaches. Other articles have criticized use of QALYs.4,5