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Publication Detail
Missing data in trial-based cost-effectiveness analysis: An incomplete journey
Abstract
© 2018 The Authors Health Economics published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Cost-effectiveness analyses (CEA) conducted alongside randomised trials provide key evidence for informing healthcare decision making, but missing data pose substantive challenges. Recently, there have been a number of developments in methods and guidelines addressing missing data in trials. However, it is unclear whether these developments have permeated CEA practice. This paper critically reviews the extent of and methods used to address missing data in recently published trial-based CEA. Issues of the Health Technology Assessment journal from 2013 to 2015 were searched. Fifty-two eligible studies were identified. Missing data were very common; the median proportion of trial participants with complete cost-effectiveness data was 63% (interquartile range: 47%-81%). The most common approach for the primary analysis was to restrict analysis to those with complete data (43%), followed by multiple imputation (30%). Half of the studies conducted some sort of sensitivity analyses, but only 2 (4%) considered possible departures from the missing-at-random assumption. Further improvements are needed to address missing data in cost-effectiveness analyses conducted alongside randomised trials. These should focus on limiting the extent of missing data, choosing an appropriate method for the primary analysis that is valid under contextually plausible assumptions, and conducting sensitivity analyses to departures from the missing-at-random assumption.
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