2017 Volume 58 Issue 6 Pages 847-852
The quality-adjusted life year (QALY) and incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) are important concepts in cost-effectiveness analysis, which is becoming increasingly important in Japan. QALY is used to estimate quality of life (QOL) and life years, and can be used to compare the efficacies of cancer and cardiovascular treatments. ICER is defined as the difference in cost between treatments divided by the difference in their effects, with a smaller ICER indicating better cost-effectiveness. Here, we present a review of cost-effectiveness analyses in Japan as well other countries. A number of treatments were shown to be cost-effective, e.g., statin for secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease, aspirin for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease, DOAC for high-risk atrial fibrillation, beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, and ARB for heart failure, sildenafil and bosentan for pulmonary hypertension, CABG for multi-vessel coronary disease, ICD for ventricular tachycardia, and CRT for heart failure with low ejection fraction, while others were not cost-effective, e.g., epoprostenol for pulmonary hypertension and LVAD for end-stage heart failure. Further investigations are required regarding some treatments, e.g., PCSK-9 inhibitors for familial hypercholesterolemia, PCI for multi-vessel coronary disease, catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation, and TAVI for severe aortic stenosis. Ethical aspects should be taken into consideration when utilizing the results of cost-effectiveness analysis in medical policy.