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Health - Taking the temperature of European healthcare
“To improve the assessment of health-care intervention options by developing a valid measurement of the ‘Quality Adjusted Life Year”

The problem

Health authorities use the concept of a Quality Adjusted Life Year (QALY) to assess the cost-effectiveness of healthcare interventions. For example, 1 QALY could correspond to two years with a quality of life assessed at 0.5. At present the threshold values, such as €20 000 per QALY, above or below which a new therapy will be rejected or recommended are largely arbitrary, with limited economic foundation. To promote coherence and ease of comparison, there is a need to develop robust and consistent methods to determine the monetary value of the QALY across a range of different countries.

EuroVaQ  Putting a value on the quality of life


EuroVaQ will develop robust methods to determine the monetary value of a QALY across ten countries.

The project will:

  • Model willingness-to-pay-based (WTP-based) values of a QALY in the ten countries based on statistical values currently used in public policy evaluation
  • Survey 300 people in each country to elicit a WTP-based value of a QALY, using contingent valuation and discrete choice methods
  • Elicit the views of decision-makers, academic health economists and members of the public on the relative importance of health gains arising from saving and extending life in a quality-of-life context

Contribution to policy development:

  • Providing a valid measure of the value of a QALY to enhance the abilities of health technology assessment agencies to recommend policies to their Member States.
  • Assistance to improve policies to cope with the challenges of an ageing population, technological innovation and major health burdens in the most efficient manner.
  • Promotion of consistent and comparable use of the QALY across Member States and associated countries.

Project deliverables

  • Survey of monetary values of prevented fatalities, serious injuries avoided and other common standards for health and survival gains – May 2008
  • Agreed methods for modelling and eliciting WTP-based value of a QALY – November 2008
  • Results of a survey of 3 000 people in ten countries – February 2010
  • A set of monetary values of a QALY for the ten countries – February 2010
  • Description of factors taken into account by decision-makers and the public when considering the relative importance of different types of health gain – December 2009


  • Two meetings of the research team with senior executives from national health technology assessment agencies and government health ministries – May 2008, December 2009
  • Project website – available from May 2008
  • Final conference and report – February 2010
  • Publication of results in international journals – as needed

Technical information

Project acronym: EuroVaQ
Project’s official full title: European Value of a Quality Adjusted Life Year
Research priority: 2.1. Health determinants and the provision of high quality and sustainable health care services and pension systems (in particular in the context of ageing and demographic change)
Specific webpage: Not available
Proposal/contract no: 044172
Start date: 1 March 2007
Kick off meeting: not available
Completion date: 28 February 2010
European Commission scientific officer: Jan Paehler,

Name: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Abbreviated name: UNEW
Address: Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University, 21 Claremont Place, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 4AA
Country: United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)191 222 5593
Fax: +44 (0)191 222 6043


Name: University of East Anglia
Abbreviated name: UEA
Country United Kingdom

Name: University of Aberdeen
Abbreviated name: Aberdeen University
Country United Kingdom

Name: University of Tromso
Abbreviated name: Tromso
Country Norway           

Name: University of Southern Denmark
Abbreviated name: USD
Country Denmark

Name: Swedish Institute of Health Economics, Lund
Abbreviated name: IHE
Country Sweden           

Name: INSERM Research Unit 379 ‘Social Science Applied to Medicine’, Universitee de la Mediterranee Aix-Marseille
Abbreviated name: INSERM U379
Country France

Name: Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Sevilla
Abbreviated name: UPO
Country Spain 

Name: Birzeit University
Abbreviated name: BZU
Country Palestine          

Name: Erasmus University Rotterdam
Abbreviated name: Erasmus
Country The Netherlands     

Name: Jagiellonian University Medical College, Kraków
Abbreviated name: UJCM
Country Poland

Name: Corvinus University Budapest
Abbreviated name: CPASF Cornivus
Country Hungary

Name: University of York
Abbreviated name: University of York
Country United Kingdom