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in category health economics

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1: Examining Unit Costs for COVID-19 Case Management in Kenya
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Posted 13 Oct 2020

Examining Unit Costs for COVID-19 Case Management in Kenya
17,741 downloads medRxiv health economics

Edwine Barasa, Angela Kairu, Wangari Nganga, Marybeth Maritim, Vincent Were, Samuel Akech, Mercy Mwangangi

IntroductionCase management for COVID-19 patients is one of key interventions in country responses to the pandemic. Countries need information on the costs of case management to inform resource mobilization, planning and budgeting, purchasing arrangements, and assessments of the cost-effectiveness of interventions. We estimated unit costs for COVID-19 case management for patients with asymptomatic, mild to moderate, severe, and critical COVID-19 disease in Kenya. MethodsWe estimated per patient per day unit costs of COVID-19 case management for patients that are asymptomatic and those that have mild to moderate, severe, and critical symptoms. For asymptomatic and mild to moderate patients, we estimated unit costs for home-based care and institutional (hospitals and isolation centers). We used an ingredients approach, adopted a health system perspective and patient episode of care as our time horizon. We obtained data on inputs and their quantities from COVID-19 case management guidelines, home based care guidelines, and human resource guidelines, and augmented this with data provided by three public covid-19 treatment hospitals in Kenya. We obtained input prices for services from a recent costing survey of 20 hospitals in Kenya and for pharmaceuticals, non-pharmaceuticals, devices and equipment from market price databases for Kenya. ResultsPer day per patient unit cost for asymptomatic patients and patients with mild to moderate COVID-19 disease under home based care are KES 1,993.01 (USD 18.89) and 1995.17 (USD 18.991) respectively. When these patients are managed in an isolation center of hospital, the same unit costs for asymptomatic patients and patients with mild to moderate disease are 7,415.28 (USD 70.29) and 7,417.44 (USD 70.31) respectively. Per day unit costs for patients with severe COVID-19 disease managed in general hospital wards and those with critical COVID-19 disease admitted in intensive care units are 12,570.75 (USD 119.16) and 59,369.42 (USD 562.79). ConclusionCOVID-19 case management costs are substantial. Unit costs for asymptomatic and mild to moderate COVID-19 patients in home-based care is 4-fold lower compared institutional care of the same patients. Kenya will not only need to mobilize substantial resources to finance COVID-19 case management but also explore additional service delivery adaptations that will reduce unit costs.

2: Causal Impact of Masks, Policies, Behavior on Early Covid-19 Pandemic in the U.S.
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Posted 29 May 2020

Causal Impact of Masks, Policies, Behavior on Early Covid-19 Pandemic in the U.S.
7,255 downloads medRxiv health economics

Victor Chernozhukov, Hiroyuki Kasahara, Paul Schrimpf

The paper evaluates the dynamic impact of various policies adopted by US states on the growth rates of confirmed Covid-19 cases and deaths as well as social distancing behavior measured by Google Mobility Reports, where we take into consideration people's voluntarily behavioral response to new information of transmission risks in a causal structural model framework. Our analysis finds that both policies and information on transmission risks are important determinants of Covid-19 cases and deaths and shows that a change in policies explains a large fraction of observed changes in social distancing behavior. Our main counterfactual experiments suggest that nationally mandating face masks for employees early in the pandemic could have reduced the weekly growth rate of cases and deaths by more than 10 percentage points in late April and could have led to as much as 19 to 47 percent less deaths nationally by the end of May, which roughly translates into 19 to 47 thousand saved lives. We also find that, without stay-at-home orders, cases would have been larger by 6 to 63 percent and without business closures, cases would have been larger by 17 to 78 percent. We find considerable uncertainty over the effects of school closures due to lack of cross-sectional variation; we could not robustly rule out either large or small effects. Overall, substantial declines in growth rates are attributable to private behavioral response, but policies played an important role as well. We also carry out sensitivity analyses to find neighborhoods of the models under which the results hold robustly: the results on mask policies appear to be much more robust than the results on business closures and stay-at-home orders. Finally, we stress that our study is observational and therefore should be interpreted with great caution. From a completely agnostic point of view, our findings uncover predictive effects (association) of observed policies and behavioral changes on future health outcomes, controlling for informational and other confounding variables.

3: They stumble that run fast: the economic and COVID-19 transmission impacts of reopening industries in the US
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Posted 12 Jun 2020

They stumble that run fast: the economic and COVID-19 transmission impacts of reopening industries in the US
7,010 downloads medRxiv health economics

Marita Zimmermann, Amy E Benefield, Benjamin M. Althouse

COVID-19 has laid bare the United States economically and epidemiologically. Decisions must be made as how and when to reopen industries. Here we quantify economic and health risk tradeoffs of reopening by industry for each state in the US. To estimate total economic impact, we summed income loss due to unemployment and profit loss. We assess transmission risk by: (1) workplace size, (2) human interactions, (3) inability to work from home, and (4) industry size. We found that the industry with the highest estimated economic impact from COVID-19 was manufacturing in 40 states; the industry with the largest transmission risk index was accommodation and food services in 41 states, and the industry with the highest economic impact per unit of transmission risk, interpreted as the value of reopening, was manufacturing in 37 states. Researchers and decision makers must work together to consider both health and economics when making tough decisions.

4: COVID-19, City Lockdown, and Air Pollution: Evidence from China
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Posted 01 Apr 2020

COVID-19, City Lockdown, and Air Pollution: Evidence from China
6,404 downloads medRxiv health economics

Guojun He, Yuhang Pan, Takanao Tanaka

The rapid spread of COVID-19 is a global public health challenge. To prevent the escalation of its transmission, China locked down one-third of its cities and strictly restricted human mobility and economic activities. Using timely and comprehensive air quality data in China, we show that these counter-COVID-19 measures led to remarkable improvement in air quality. Within weeks, the Air Quality Index and PM2.5 concentrations were brought down by 25%. The effects are larger in colder, richer, and more industrialized cities. We estimate that such improvement would avert 24,000 to 36,000 premature deaths from air pollution on a monthly basis.

5: The Association of Opening K-12 Schools with the Spread of COVID-19 in the United States: County-Level Panel Data Analysis
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Posted 23 Feb 2021

The Association of Opening K-12 Schools with the Spread of COVID-19 in the United States: County-Level Panel Data Analysis
6,201 downloads medRxiv health economics

Victor Chernozhukov, Hiroyuki Kasahara, Paul Schrimpf

This paper empirically examines how the opening of K-12 schools and colleges is associated with the spread of COVID-19 using county-level panel data in the United States. Using data on foot traffic and K-12 school opening plans, we analyze how an increase in visits to schools and opening schools with different teaching methods (in-person, hybrid, and remote) is related to the 2-weeks forward growth rate of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Our debiased panel data regression analysis with a set of county dummies, interactions of state and week dummies, and other controls shows that an increase in visits to both K-12 schools and colleges is associated with a subsequent increase in case growth rates. The estimates indicate that fully opening K-12 schools with in-person learning is associated with a 5 (SE = 2) percentage points increase in the growth rate of cases. We also find that the positive association of K-12 school visits or in-person school openings with case growth is stronger for counties that do not require staff to wear masks at schools. These results have a causal interpretation in a structural model with unobserved county and time confounders. Sensitivity analysis shows that the baseline results are robust to timing assumptions and alternative specifications.

6: Projecting the Spread of COVID19 for Germany
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Posted 30 Mar 2020

Projecting the Spread of COVID19 for Germany
3,872 downloads medRxiv health economics

Jean Roch Donsimoni, René Glawion, Bodo Plachter, Klaus Waelde

We model the evolution of the number of individuals that are reported to be sick with COVID-19 in Germany. Our theoretical framework builds on a continuous time Markov chain with four states: healthy without infection, sick, healthy after recovery or after infection but without symptoms and dead. Our quantitative solution matches the number of sick individuals up to the most recent observation and ends with a share of sick individuals following from infection rates and sickness probabilities. We employ this framework to study inter alia the expected peak of the number of sick individuals in a scenario without public regulation of social contacts. We also study the effects of public regulations. For all scenarios we report the expected end of the CoV-2 epidemic. We have four general findings: First, current epidemiological thinking implies that the long-run effects of the epidemic only depend on the aggregate long-run infection rate and on the individual risk to turn sick after an infection. Any measures by individuals and the public therefore only influence the dynamics of spread of CoV-2. Second, predictions about the duration and level of the epidemic must strongly distinguish between the officially reported numbers (Robert Koch Institut, RKI) and actual numbers of sick individuals. Third, given the current (scarce) medical knowledge about long-run infection rate and individual risks to turn sick, any prediction on the length (duration in months) and strength (e.g. maximum numbers of sick individuals on a given day) is subject to a lot of uncertainty. Our predictions therefore offer robustness analyses that provide ranges on how long the epidemic will last and how strong it will be. Fourth, public interventions that are already in place and that are being discussed can lead to more and less severe outcomes of the epidemic. If an intervention takes place too early, the epidemic can actually be stronger than with an intervention that starts later. Interventions should therefore be contingent on current infection rates in regions or countries. Concerning predictions about COVID-19 in Germany, we find that the long-run number of sick individuals (that are reported to the RKI), once the epidemic is over, will lie between 500 thousand and 5 million individuals. While this seems to be an absurd large range for a precise projection, this reflects the uncertainty about the long-run infection rate in Germany. If we assume that Germany will follow the good scenario of Hubei (and we are even a bit more conservative given discussions about data quality), we will end up with 500 thousand sick individuals over the entire epidemic. If by contrast we believe (as many argue) that once the epidemic is over 70% of the population will have been infected (and thereby immune), we will end up at 5 million cases. Defining the end of the epidemic by less than 100 newly reported sick individuals per day, we find a large variation depending on the effectiveness of governmental pleas and regulations to reduce social contacts. An epidemic that is not influenced by public health measures would end mid June 2020. With public health measures lasting for few weeks, the end is delayed by around one month or two. The advantage of the delay, however, is to reduce the peak number of individuals that are simultaneously sick. When we believe in long-run infection rates of 70%, this number is equally high for all scenarios we went through and well above 1 million. When we can hope for the Hubei-scenario, the maximum number of sick individuals will be around 200 thousand "only". Whatever value of the range of long-run infection rates we want to assume, the epidemic will last at least until June, with extensive and potentially future public health measures, it will last until July. In the worst case, it will last until end of August. We emphasize that all projections are subject to uncertainty and permanent monitoring of observed incidences are taken into account to update the projection. The most recent projections are available at https://www.macro.economics.unimainz.de/corona-blog/.

7: Do Lockdowns Bring about Additional Mortality Benefits or Costs? Evidence based on Death Records from 300 Million Chinese People
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Posted 01 Sep 2020

Do Lockdowns Bring about Additional Mortality Benefits or Costs? Evidence based on Death Records from 300 Million Chinese People
3,027 downloads medRxiv health economics

Jinlei Qi, Dandan Zhang, Xiang Zhang, Peng Yin, Jianmei Liu, Yuhang Pan, Tanakao Takana, Peiyu Xie, Zhaoguang Wang, Shuocen Liu, George Fu Gao, Guojun He, Maigeng Zhou

Objectives: To estimate the short-term effect of stringent lockdown policies on non-COVID-19 mortality and explore the heterogeneous impacts of lockdowns in China after the COVID-19 outbreak. Design Employing a difference-in-differences method. Setting Using comprehensive death records covering around 300 million Chinese people, we estimate the impacts of city and community lockdowns on non-COVID-19 mortality outside of Wuhan. Participants: 44,548 deaths recorded in 602 counties or districts by the Disease Surveillance Point System of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention from 1 January 2020 to14 March 2020. Results We find that lockdowns reduced the number of non-COVID-19 deaths by 4.9% (cardiovascular deaths by 6.2%, injuries by 9.2%, and non-COVID-19 pneumonia deaths by 14.3%). A back-of-the-envelope calculation shows that more than 32,000 lives could have been saved from non-COVID-19 diseases/causes during the 40 days of the lockdown on which we focus. Main outcome measures: Weekly numbers of deaths from all causes without COVID-19, cardiovascular diseases, injuries, pneumonia, neoplasms, chronic respiratory diseases, and other causes were used to estimate the associations between lockdown policies and mortality. Conclusions: The results suggest that the rapid and strict virus countermeasures not only effectively controlled the spread of COVID-19 but also brought about unintended short-term public health benefits. The health benefits are likely driven by significant reductions in air pollution, traffic, and human interactions during the lockdown period. These findings can help better inform policymakers around the world about the benefits and costs of lockdowns policies in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

8: Face Masks, Public Policies and Slowing the Spread of COVID-19: Evidence from Canada
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Posted 25 Sep 2020

Face Masks, Public Policies and Slowing the Spread of COVID-19: Evidence from Canada
2,923 downloads medRxiv health economics

Alexander Karaivanov, Shih En Lu, Hitoshi Shigeoka, Cong Chen, Stephanie Pamplona

We estimate the impact of mask mandates and other non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI) on COVID-19 case growth in Canada, including regulations on businesses and gatherings, school closures, travel and self-isolation, and long-term care homes. We partially account for behavioral responses using Google mobility data. Our identification approach exploits variation in the timing of indoor face mask mandates staggered over two months in the 34 public health regions in Ontario, Canadas most populous province. We find that, in the first few weeks after implementation, mask mandates are associated with a reduction of 25 percent in the weekly number of new COVID-19 cases. Additional analysis with province-level data provides corroborating evidence. Counterfactual policy simulations suggest that mandating indoor masks nationwide in early July could have reduced the weekly number of new cases in Canada by 25 to 40 percent in mid-August, which translates into 700 to 1,100 fewer cases per week. JEL codesI18, I12, C23

9: Human Mobility Restrictions and the Spread of the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China
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Posted 26 Mar 2020

Human Mobility Restrictions and the Spread of the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in China
2,502 downloads medRxiv health economics

Hanming Fang, Long Wang, Yang Yang

We quantify the causal impact of human mobility restrictions, particularly the lockdown of the city of Wuhan on January 23, 2020, on the containment and delay of the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). We employ a set of difference-in-differences (DID) estimations to disentangle the lockdown effect on human mobility reductions from other confounding effects including panic effect, virus effect, and the Spring Festival effect. We find that the lockdown of Wuhan reduced inflow into Wuhan by 76.64%, outflows from Wuhan by 56.35%, and within-Wuhan movements by 54.15%. We also estimate the dynamic effects of up to 22 lagged population inflows from Wuhan and other Hubei cities, the epicenter of the 2019-nCoV outbreak, on the destination cities new infection cases. We find, using simulations with these estimates, that the lockdown of the city of Wuhan on January 23, 2020 contributed significantly to reducing the total infection cases outside of Wuhan, even with the social distancing measures later imposed by other cities. We find that the COVID-19 cases would be 64.81% higher in the 347 Chinese cities outside Hubei province, and 52.64% higher in the 16 non-Wuhan cities inside Hubei, in the counterfactual world in which the city of Wuhan were not locked down from January 23, 2020. We also find that there were substantial undocumented infection cases in the early days of the 2019-nCoV outbreak in Wuhan and other cities of Hubei province, but over time, the gap between the officially reported cases and our estimated "actual" cases narrows significantly. We also find evidence that enhanced social distancing policies in the 63 Chinese cities outside Hubei province are effective in reducing the impact of population inflows from the epi-center cities in Hubei province on the spread of 2019-nCoV virus in the destination cities elsewhere. JEL CodesI18, I10.

10: The socio-economic determinants of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic
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Posted 17 Apr 2020

The socio-economic determinants of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic
2,469 downloads medRxiv health economics

Viktor Stojkoski, Zoran Utkovski, Petar Jolakoski, Dragan Tevdovski, Ljupco Kocarev

The magnitude of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has an enormous impact on the social life and the economic activities in almost every country in the world. Besides the biological and epidemiological factors, a multitude of social and economic criteria also govern the extent of the coronavirus disease spread in the population. Consequently, there is an active debate regarding the critical socio-economic determinants that contribute to the resulting pandemic. In this paper, we contribute towards the resolution of the debate by leveraging Bayesian model averaging techniques and country level data to investigate the potential of 35 determinants, describing a diverse set of socio-economic characteristics, in explaining the coronavirus pandemic outcome.

11: Estimating Probabilities of Success of Clinical Trials for Vaccines and Other Anti-Infective Therapeutics
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Posted 14 Apr 2020

Estimating Probabilities of Success of Clinical Trials for Vaccines and Other Anti-Infective Therapeutics
2,371 downloads medRxiv health economics

Chi Heem Wong, Kien Wei Siah, Andrew W. Lo

A key driver in biopharmaceutical investment decisions is the probability of success of a drug development program. We estimate the probabilities of success (PoS) of clinical trials for vaccines and other anti-infective therapeutics using 43,414 unique triplets of clinical trial, drug, and disease between January 1, 2000, and January 7, 2020, yielding 2,544 vaccine programs and 6,829 non-vaccine programs targeting infectious diseases. The overall estimated PoS for an industry-sponsored vaccine program is 39.6%, and 16.3% for an industry-sponsored anti-infective therapeutic. Among industry-sponsored vaccines programs, only 12 out of 27 disease categories have seen at least one approval, with the most successful being against monkeypox (100%), rotavirus (78.7%), and Japanese encephalitis (67.6%). The three infectious diseases with the highest PoS for industry-sponsored non-vaccine therapeutics are smallpox (100%), CMV (31.8%), and onychomycosis (29.8%). Non-industry-sponsored vaccine and non-vaccine development programs have lower overall PoSs: 6.8% and 8.2%, respectively. Viruses involved in recent outbreaks---MERS, SARS, Ebola, Zika---have had a combined total of only 45 non-vaccine development programs initiated over the past two decades, and no approved therapy to date (Note: our data was obtained just before the COVID-19 outbreak and do not contain information about the programs targeting this disease.) These estimates offer guidance both to biopharma investors as well as to policymakers seeking to identify areas most likely to be undeserved by private-sector engagement and in need of public-sector support.

12: Global versus focused isolation during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic-A cost-effectiveness analysis
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Posted 01 Apr 2020

Global versus focused isolation during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic-A cost-effectiveness analysis
2,316 downloads medRxiv health economics

Amir Shlomai, Ari Leshno, Ella H. Sklan, Moshe Leshno

BackgroundThe novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic is driving many countries to adopt global isolation measures in an attempt to slow-down its spread. These extreme measures are associated with extraordinary economic costs. ObjectiveTo compare the cost-effectiveness of global isolation of the whole population to focused isolation of individuals at high risk of being exposed, augmented by thorough PCR testing. DesignWe applied a modified Susceptible, Exposed, Infectious, Removed (SEIR) model to compare two different strategies in controlling the SARS-CoV-2 spread. Data sources and target populationWe modeled the dynamics in Israel, a small country with [~] 9 million people. Time horizon200 days. Interventions1. Global isolation of the whole population (strategy 1) 2. Focused isolation of people at high risk of exposure with extensive PCR testing (strategy 2). Outcome measuresNumber of deaths and the cost per one avoided death in strategy 1 vs 2. Results of Base-Case analysisThe number of expected deaths is 389 in strategy 1versus 432 in strategy 2. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) in case of adhering to global isolation will be $ 102,383,282 to prevent one case of death. Results of sensitivity analysisThe ICER value is between $ 22.5 million to over $280 million per one avoided death. ConclusionsAccording to our model, global isolation will save [~]43 more lives compared to a strategy of focused isolation and extensive screening. This benefit is implicated in tremendous costs that might result in overwhelming economic effects. LimitationsCompartment models do not necessarily fit to countries with heterogeneous populations. In addition, we rely on current published parameters that might not reliably reflect infection dynamics.

13: A Noncooperative Game Analysis for Controlling COVID-19 Outbreak
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Posted 26 May 2020

A Noncooperative Game Analysis for Controlling COVID-19 Outbreak
2,250 downloads medRxiv health economics

Anupam Kumar Bairagi, Mehedi Masud, Do Hyeon Kim, Md. Shirajum Munir, Abdullah Al Nahid, Sarder Fakhrul Abedin, Kazi Masudul Alam, Sujit Biswas, Sultan S Alshamrani, Zhu Han, Choong Seon Hong

COVID-19 is a global epidemic. Till now, there is no remedy for this epidemic. However, isolation and social distancing are seemed to be effective to control this pandemic. In this paper, we provide an analytical model on the effectiveness of the sustainable lockdown policy that accommodates both isolation and social distancing features of the individuals. To promote social distancing, we analyze a noncooperative game environment that provides an incentive for maintaining social distancing. Furthermore, the sustainability of the lockdown policy is also interpreted with the help of a game-theoretic incentive model for maintaining social distancing. Finally, an extensive numerical analysis is provided to study the impact of maintaining a social-distancing measure to prevent the Covid-19 outbreak. Numerical results show that the individual incentive increases more than 85% with an increasing percentage of home isolation from 25% to 100% for all considered scenarios. The numerical results also demonstrate that in a particular percentage of home isolation, the individual incentive decreases with an increasing number of individuals.

14: Does TB Vaccination Reduce COVID-19 Infection?: No Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Analysis
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Posted 22 Apr 2020

Does TB Vaccination Reduce COVID-19 Infection?: No Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Analysis
2,208 downloads medRxiv health economics

Masao Fukui, Kohei Kawaguchi, Hiroaki Matsuura

In the middle of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the BCG hypothesis, the prevalence and severity of the COVID-19 outbreak seems to be correlated with whether a country has a universal coverage of Bacillus-Calmette-Guerin (BCG), a vaccine for tuberculosis disease (TB), has emerged and attracted the attention of scientific community and media outlets. However, all existing claims are based on cross-country correlations that do not exclude the possibility of spurious correlation. We merged country-age-level case statistics with the start/termination years of BCG vaccination policy and conducted a regression discontinuity and difference-in-difference analysis. The results do not support the BCG hypothesis.

15: Who should be first in line for the COVID-19 vaccine? Surveys in 13 countries of the publics preferences for prioritisation
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Posted 02 Feb 2021

Who should be first in line for the COVID-19 vaccine? Surveys in 13 countries of the publics preferences for prioritisation
2,201 downloads medRxiv health economics

Raymond M Duch, Laurence S J Roope, Mara Violato, Matias F Becerra, Thomas Robinson, Jean-Francois Bonnefon, Jorge Friedman, Peter Loewen, Pavan Mamidi, Alessia Melegaro, Mariana Blanco, Juan Vargas, Julia Seither, Paolo Candio, Ana G Cruz, Xinyang Hua, Adrian Barnett, Philip Clarke

How does the public want a COVID-19 vaccine to be allocated? We conducted a conjoint experiment asking 15,536 adults in 13 countries to evaluate 248,576 profiles of potential vaccine recipients that varied randomly on five attributes. Our sample includes diverse countries from all continents. The results suggest that in addition to giving priority to health workers and to those at high risk, the public favours giving priority to a broad range of key workers and to those on lower incomes. These preferences are similar across respondents of different education levels, incomes, and political ideologies, as well as across most surveyed countries. The public favoured COVID-19 vaccines being allocated solely via government programs, but were highly polarized in some developed countries on whether taking a vaccine should be mandatory. There is a consensus among the public on many aspects of COVID-19 vaccination which needs to be taken into account when developing and communicating roll-out strategies.

16: The Social and Economic Factors Underlying the Impact of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in US Counties
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Posted 08 May 2020

The Social and Economic Factors Underlying the Impact of COVID-19 Cases and Deaths in US Counties
2,199 downloads medRxiv health economics

Nivedita Mukherji

This paper uncovers the socioeconomic and health/lifestyle factors that can explain the differential impact of the coronavirus pandemic on different parts of the United States. Using a dynamic panel representation of an epidemiological model of disease spread, the paper develops a Vulnerability Index for US counties from daily reported number of cases over a 20-day period of rapid disease growth. County-level economic, demographic, and health factors are used to explain the differences in the values of this index and thereby the transmission and concentration of the disease across the country. These factors are also used to examine the number of reported deaths. The paper finds that counties with high median income have a high incidence of cases but reported lower deaths. Income inequality as measured by the Gini coefficient, is found to be associated with more deaths and more cases. The remarkable similarity in the distribution of cases across the country and the distribution of distance-weighted international passengers served by the top international airports is evidence of the spread of the virus by way of international travel. The distributions of age, race, and health risk factors such as obesity and diabetes are found to be particularly significant factors in explaining the differences in mortality across counties. Counties with better access to health care as measured by the number of primary care physicians per capita have lower deaths, and so do places with more health awareness as measured by flu vaccination prevalence. Environmental health conditions such as the amount of air pollution is found to be associated with counties with higher deaths from the virus. It is hoped that research such as these will help policymakers to develop risk factors for each region of the country to better contain the spread of infectious diseases in the future.

17: Face Masks Considerably Reduce Covid-19 Cases in Germany
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Posted 29 Jun 2020

Face Masks Considerably Reduce Covid-19 Cases in Germany
2,112 downloads medRxiv health economics

Timo Friedel Mitze, Reinhold Kosfeld, Johannes Rode, Klaus Waelde

We use the synthetic control method to analyze the effect of face masks on the spread of Covid-19 in Germany. Our identification approach exploits regional variation in the point in time when face masks became compulsory. Depending on the region we analyse, we find that face masks reduced the cumulative number of registered Covid-19 cases between 2.3% and 13% over a period of 10 days after they became compulsory. Assessing the credibility of the various estimates, we conclude that face masks reduce the daily growth rate of reported infections by around 40%.

18: Comparison of Healthcare costs and benefits of the UK's Covid-19 response with four European countries: Decision Modelling Study
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Posted 16 Dec 2020

Comparison of Healthcare costs and benefits of the UK's Covid-19 response with four European countries: Decision Modelling Study
2,105 downloads medRxiv health economics

Howard Thom, Josephine G Walker, Peter Vickerman, Will Hollingworth

Background In responding to covid-19, governments have tried to balance protecting health while minimising Gross Domestic Product (GDP) losses. We compare health-related net benefit (HRNB) and GDP losses associated with government responses of the UK, Ireland, Germany, Spain, and Sweden from UK healthcare payer perspective. Methods We compared observed cases, hospitalisations, and deaths under "mitigation" to modelled events under "no mitigation" to 20th July 2020. We thus calculated healthcare costs, quality adjusted life years (QALYs), and HRNB at GBP 20,000/QALY saved by each country. On per population (i.e. per capita) basis, we compared HRNB with forecast reductions in 2020 GDP growth (overall or compared to Sweden as minimal mitigation country) and qualitatively and quantitatively described government responses. Findings The UK saved 3.17 (0.32-3.65) million QALYs, GBP 33 (8-38) billion healthcare costs, and GBP 1416 (220-1637) HRNB per capita at GBP 20,000/QALY. Per capita, this is comparable to GBP 1,455 GDP loss using Sweden as comparator and offsets 46.1 (7.1-53.2)% of total GBP 3075 GDP loss. Germany, Spain, and Sweden had greater HRNB per capita. These also offset a greater percentage of total GDP losses per capita. Ireland fared worst on both measures. Countries with more mask wearing, testing, and population susceptibility had better outcomes. Highest stringency responses did not appear to have best outcomes. Interpretation The benefit of government covid-19 responses may outweigh their economic costs. The extent that HRNB offset economic losses appears to relate to population characteristics, testing levels, and mask wearing, rather than response stringency. Funding Elizabeth Blackwell Institute; UK MRC; UK NIHR.

19: A Cost Analysis of Childbirth for Pregnant Women with COVID-19 in the Epicentre of Nigeria
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Posted 23 Sep 2020

A Cost Analysis of Childbirth for Pregnant Women with COVID-19 in the Epicentre of Nigeria
1,951 downloads medRxiv health economics

Aduragbemi Banke-Thomas, Christian Makwe, Mobolanle Balogun, Bosede Bukola Afolabi, Theresa Amaogechukwu Alex-Nwangwu, Charles A Ameh

The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been a major disruptor of health systems globally. Its emergence has warranted the need to reorganize maternity services for childbirth. However, it is not known if this comes at an additional cost to women. We conducted a hospital-based cost analysis to estimate the out-of-pocket cost of spontaneous vaginal delivery (SVD) and caesarean delivery (CD). Specifically, we collected facility-based and household costs of all nine pregnant women with COVID-19 who were managed between 1st April and 30th August 2020 at the largest teaching hospital in Lagos, the epicentre of COVID-19 in Nigeria. We compared the mean facility-based costs for the cohort with costs paid by pregnant women pre-COVID-19, identifying major cost drivers. We also estimated what would have been paid without subsidies, testing assumptions with a sensitivity analysis. Findings showed that total utilization cost ranged from US$494 (N190,150) for SVD with mild COVID-19 to US$4,553 (N1,751,165) for emergency CD with severe COVID-19. Though 32-66% of facility-based cost has been subsidized, cost of SVD and CD have doubled and tripled respectively during the pandemic compared to those paid pre-COVID. Out of the facility-based costs paid, cost of personal protective equipment (PPE) was the major cost driver (50%) for SVD and CD. Supplemental oxygen was a major cost driver when women had severe COVID-19 symptoms and required long admission (48%). Excluding treatment costs specifically for COVID-19, mean facility-based costs for SVD and CD are US$228 (N87,750) and US$948 (N364,551) respectively. Our study demonstrates that despite cost exemptions and donations, utilization costs remain prohibitive. Regulation of the PPE and medical oxygen supply chain can help drive down utilization cost and reduce mark-ups being passed to users. The pandemic offers an opportunity to expand advocacy for subscription to health insurance schemes in order to avoid any catastrophic health expenditure.

20: Estimating the Financial Impact of Gene Therapy
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Posted 31 Oct 2020

Estimating the Financial Impact of Gene Therapy
1,785 downloads medRxiv health economics

Chi Heem Wong, Dexin Li, Nina Wang, Jonathan Gruber, Rena Conti, Andrew W. Lo

We assess the potential financial impact of future gene therapies by identifying the 109 late-stage gene therapy clinical trials currently underway, estimating the prevalence and incidence of their corresponding diseases, developing novel mathematical models of the increase in quality-adjusted life years for each approved gene therapy, and simulating the launch prices and the expected spending of these therapies over a 15-year time horizon. The results of our simulation suggest that an expected total of 1.09 million patients will be treated by gene therapy from January 2020 to December 2034. The expected peak annual spending on these therapies is $25.3 billion, and the total spending from January 2020 to December 2034 is $306 billion. We decompose their annual estimated spending by treated age group as a proxy for U.S. insurance type, and consider the tradeoffs of various methods of payment for these therapies to ensure patient access to their expected benefits.

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