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Open Access Commentary

Trial-based clinical and economic analyses: the unhelpful quest for conformity

David GT Whitehurst12* and Stirling Bryan23

Author Affiliations

1 Faculty of Health Sciences, Blusson Hall 10504, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6, Canada

2 Centre for Clinical Epidemiology & Evaluation, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, 7th Floor 828 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver, British Columbia V5Z 1M9, Canada

3 School of Population & Public Health, University of British Columbia, 2206 East Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z3, Canada

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Trials 2013, 14:421  doi:10.1186/1745-6215-14-421

Published: 5 December 2013

Abstract

Where there is conformity across the findings, interpretation and implications of 'clinical’ and 'economic’ research, there is limited cause for concern. However, there is often unease when apparent contradictory conclusions are drawn from the same study. Given the ever increasing role for economic evaluation in healthcare decision making, this commentary challenges the necessity of compatibility between clinical and economic evaluation.

Keywords:
Randomized controlled trial; Economic evaluation; Outcomes measurement; Cost-utility analysis; Scientific paradigms; Estimation; Inference