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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910


IUNES, Roberto Fontes. On the economic analysis of response to preventive measures. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 1991, vol.25, n.4, pp.243-250. ISSN 1518-8787.

There are many circumstances in which the effectiveness of preventive measures depends to a large extent on the compliance of the patient in changing his or her behavior or lifestyle. It is shown how economic techniques can be used (i) to describe the rationale of individuals and predict their behavior (Section 2); and (ii) to assess preventive measures that, by requiring a change of conduct, imply "costs" to the individual due to a decline in the quality of life (Appendix). Cigarette smoking and coronary heart disease are used as an illustration. While the analysis of Section 2 uses graphical techniques, a simple textbook-type of lifetime utility model with a mathematical emphasis is used in the Appendix. It is also shown that techniques often used to assess health care programs such as the QALYs (Quality-Adjusted Life Years) are inappropriate to the evaluation of preventive programs aiming at behavioral changes. Finally, topics that call for further research are indicated.

Keywords : Primary prevention [economics]; Atittude to health; Cost benefit analysis.

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