Open Access Highly Accessed Study protocol

Economics of chronic diseases protocol: cost-effectiveness modelling and the future burden of non-communicable disease in Europe

Diana Divajeva1, Tim Marsh1, Susanne Logstrup2, Marleen Kestens2, Pepijn Vemer34, Vilma Kriaucioniene5, Sophie Peresson6, Sophie O’Kelly7, Ana Rito8 and Laura Webber1*

Author Affiliations

1 UK Health Forum, Fleetbank House, 2-6 Salisbury Square, EC4Y 8JX London, UK

2 European Heart Network, Rue Montoyer 31, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

3 PharmacoEpidemiology & PharmacoEconomics (PE2), University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands

4 Department of Epidemiology, University Medical Centre Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands

5 Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, A. Mickevičiaus g. 9, LT 44307 Kaunas, Lithuania

6 International Diabetes Federation European region (IDF Europe), 166 Chaussee de La Hulpe, B-1170 Brussels, Belgium

7 European Society of Cardiology, 2035 Route des Colles - Les Templiers, 06903 Sophia Antipolis, France

8 National Institute of Health Doutor Ricardo Jorge, I.P. Av. Padre Cruz, 1649-016 Lisbon, Portugal

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Public Health 2014, 14:456  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-456

Published: 16 May 2014



The majority of chronic disease is caused by risk factors which are mostly preventable. Effective interventions to reduce these risks are known and proven to be applicable to a variety of settings. Chronic disease is generally developed long before the fatal outcome, meaning that a lot of people spend a number of years in poor health. Effective prevention measures can prolong lives of individuals and significantly improve their quality of life. However, the methods to measure cost-effectiveness are a subject to much debate. The Economics of Chronic Diseases project aims to establish the best possible methods of measuring cost-effectiveness as well as develop micro-simulation models apt at projecting future burden of chronic diseases, their costs and potential savings after implementation of cost-effective interventions.


This research project will involve eight European countries: Bulgaria, Finland, Greece, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and the United Kingdom (UK). A literature review will be conducted to identify scientific articles which critically review the methods of cost-effectiveness. Contact will be made health economists to inform and enrich this review. This evidence will be used as a springboard for discussion at a meeting with key European stakeholders and experts with the aim of reaching a consensus on recommendations for cost-effectiveness methodology. Epidemiological data for coronary heart disease, chronic kidney disease, type 2 diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease will be collected along with data on time trends in three major risk factors related to these diseases, specifically tobacco consumption, blood pressure and body mass index. Economic and epidemiological micro-simulation models will be developed to asses the future distributions of risks, disease outcomes, healthcare costs and the cost-effectiveness of interventions to reduce the burden of chronic diseases in Europe.


This work will help to establish the best methods of measuring cost-effectiveness of health interventions as well as test a variety of scenarios to reduce the risk factors associated with selected chronic diseases. The modelling projections could be used to inform decisions and policies that will implement the best course of action to curb the rising incidence of chronic diseases.

Chronic disease; Cost-effectiveness; Europe; Modelling; Future burden