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Economic evaluations of alcohol prevention interventions: Is the evidence sufficient? A review of methodological challenges

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Sarah HillORCiD, Professor Luke ValeORCiD, Emeritus Prof David Hunter, Dr Emily Henderson, Dr Yemi Oluboyede



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Public health interventions have unique characteristics compared to health technologies, which present additional challenges for economic evaluation (EE). High quality EEs that are able to address the particular methodological challenges are important for public health decision-makers. In England, they are even more pertinent given the transition of public health responsibilities in 2013 from the National Health Service to local government authorities where new agents are shaping policy decisions.Addressing alcohol misuse is a globally prioritised public health issue. This article provides a systematic review of EE and priority-setting studies for interventions to prevent and reduce alcohol misuse published internationally over the past decade (2006–2016). This review appraises the EE and priority-setting evidence to establish whether it is sufficient to meet the informational needs of public health decision-makers.619 studies were identified via database searches. 7 additional studies were identified via hand searching journals, grey literature and reference lists. 27 met inclusion criteria. Methods identified included cost-utility analysis (18), cost-effectiveness analysis (6), cost-benefit analysis (CBA) (1), cost-consequence analysis (CCA) (1) and return-on-investment (1). The review identified a lack of consideration of methodological challenges associated with evaluating public health interventions and limited use of methods such as CBA and CCA which have been recommended as potentially useful for EE in public health. No studies using other specific priority-setting tools were identified.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hill SR, Vale L, Hunter D, Henderson E, Oluboyedi Y

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Health Policy

Year: 2017

Volume: 121

Issue: 12

Pages: 1249-1262

Print publication date: 01/12/2017

Online publication date: 27/10/2017

Acceptance date: 18/10/2017

Date deposited: 29/11/2017

ISSN (print): Health Policy

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2017.10.003


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Funder referenceFunder name
MR/K02325X/1Medical Research Council (MRC)