Open Access

Pharmacoeconomics for migraine and headache researchers: basic concepts, methods and terminology

The Journal of Headache and PainOfficial Journal of the Italian Society for the Study of Headaches5:129

DOI: 10.1007/s10194-004-0129-y

Received: 5 October 2004

Accepted: 16 October 2004


Pharmacoeconomics, the application of health economics to pharmaceuticals, is an increasingly important part of the evaluation of any therapy. It is a response to limitations on the resources available for medical care, and the need to justify how we spend these resources for the public good. This review summarises some of the key issues in pharmacoeconomics, drawing examples from the literature on migraine or headaches. It describes how pharmacoeconomics is fundamentally comparative, and must be based on real world practice rather than on clinical trials. An important point is what outcomes in migraine might be used in such studies. The types of studies commonly encountered are detailed. These examples illustrate some of the limitations of the process: a risk of industry driven bias, and a draw of money into the areas evaluated (e. g., acute therapies) rather than those not considered (e. g., longterm therapies).

Key words

Health economics Pharmaceuticals Migraine Evaluation Methods