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The assessment of the economic return from controlled clinical trials

A framework applied to clinical trials of colorectal cancer follow-up

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Clinical trials can be considered health interventions as their primary aim is to impact on the health of a population. Given that resources are scarce for both health care and health related research, trials could be designed such that they can be demonstrated to be cost-effective, i.e., the costs of conducting the trial are justified given the forecasted long-term benefits.We demonstrate how a model can be used to predict the cost-effectiveness of undertaking a clinical trial comparing alternative regimens of colorectal cancer follow-up.The model forecasts costs and survival under two scenarios,with and without conducting a clinical trial, with the outcome assessed in terms of years to payback for the clinical trial.The methodology shown can be used both to provide information on appropriate trial design and/or in prioritizing between potential trials.

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Douglas Coyle Clinical Epidemiology Unit, Ottawa Health Research Institute, 1053 Carling Avenue,Ottawa Hospital,Ottawa, Ontario K1Y 4E9,Canada, e-mail:

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Coyle, D., Grunfeld, E. & Wells, G. The assessment of the economic return from controlled clinical trials . Eur J Health Econom 4, 6–11 (2003).

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