Human Health Economics

Human Health Economics

As with environmental economics, RPA has vast experience in applying market-based and nonmarket-based approaches to value the health benefits and costs of policy interventions. There are different approaches used to value the impacts of policies which have direct and indirect effects on human health. These range from those which are market-based, such as cost-of-illness approaches and lost productivity due to lost working days, to those which are nonmarket-based, such as Contingent Valuation approaches. 

Among the non-monetary methods, approaches based on quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) are used more frequently. For instance, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) uses QALYs to inform cost-effectiveness and justify medical interventions, and DALYs are used by the WHO to measure the burden of disease, which is expressed as the number of years lost due to ill-health, disability or early death.

RPA has an interdisciplinary team of experts with significant understanding of the risks to health and safety from consumer goods and services and the interactions between human health, risk assessment and regulatory practice. We combine knowledge on chemical risk assessment and management with human health economics. This is illustrated by our extensive work on the development and implementation of REACH since 2001, including a range of impact assessments and contributions to several guidance documents. 

Our work on human health economics is also closely related to our work on the Water Framework Directive and the REACH Regulation. Human health economics is used in socio-economic analysis (SEA) in order to inform decisions concerning chemical authorisations and restrictions. In 2011, RPA developed a framework for assessing the human health and environmental benefits of REACH and we also developed guidance for the OECD on SEA for chemical risk management. 

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Key Staff