Health economics is a sub-discipline of economics and studies the allocation of scarce resources among alternative healthcare programs or strategies for the promotion, maintenance and improvement of health. Health economics studies how healthcare and health-related services, their costs and benefits, and health itself are distributed among individuals and groups in society. Health economics is concerned with the formal analysis of direct and indirect costs and benefits that are a consequence of a health care intervention, program or strategy. The science of health economics has significantly progressed in recent years. Although a lot of disagreement among health economists existed in the early nineties, over the recent years more consensus on methodology has been reached. This development resulted in a standardised approach, allowing valid comparisons of studies in different fields of health care and across countries. The main study types used in economic evaluation are cost-effectiveness (CEA) and cost-utility analysis (CUA) in which the incremental net costs of a programme are related to the health benefits.
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