The aims of this paper are threefold. First, to describe why it is becoming increasingly important to measure the effect of modern therapy on the quality of patients’ lives. Second, to explain briefly the economic techniques which are being developed to produce these measurements. And third, to describe the problems which exist at the present stage in the development of these new techniques. The conclusion will be that the measurement of quality of life during and after the clinical evaluation of a new medicine will become increasingly essential during the 1990s. However a great deal of economic research, in collaboration with clinicians and pharmaceutical physicians, is still necessary before current methods of measurement can be regarded as routine and reliable ‘instruments’ in the evaluation of new therapies.
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