Quality-Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) are a number which (theoretically) represents the degree to which a drug or treatment extends life and improves quality of life. The QALY assigns a value to a human’s life on a scale between 0 and 1; 0 = dead and 1 = young and in perfect health. Are you worth treating? Is your treatment worth covering? In many countries, the QALY determines the answer.
According to a 2019 report from the National Council on Disability, the use of the QALY in many foreign countries to inform benefits and coverage decisions has limited access to lifesaving medications for people with disabilities and those with chronic illnesses. Foreign reference pricing policies would bring QALYs, and the access barriers that come with them, to the U.S.
Click on the individual countries below to see how governments around the world use QALYs to value patients’ lives, and how it affects real patients.
Click here to learn more about how foreign reference pricing would devalue the lives of the chronically ill, seniors and the disabled.
The above numbers represent utility scores collected and used in the countries listed but it does not mean in all cases that these specific utilities have been used by the countries’ governmentally sanctioned health technology assessment bodies.