Economic evaluations of mass drug administration: The importance of economies of scale and scope

08 Nov 2017
Turner HC, Toor J, Hollingsworth TD, Anderson RM

It is recognised that changing the current approaches for the control of the neglected tropical diseases will be needed to reach the World Health Organization’s (WHO) 2020 goals. Consequently, it is important that economic evaluations of the alternative approaches are conducted. A vital component of such evaluations is the issue of how the intervention’s costs should be incorporated. We discuss this issue – focusing on mass drug administration. We argue that the common approach of assuming an intervention’s cost per treatment is constant, regardless of the number of individuals treated, is a misleading way to consider the delivery costs of mass drug administration due to the occurrence of economies/diseconomies of scale and scope. Greater care and consideration are required when the costs are incorporated into such analyses. Without this, these economic evaluations could potentially lead to incorrect policy recommendations.