In some clinical trials, it can be important to compare how much different treatments or treatment plans cost, as well as how well they work. This can be particularly important when two (or more) treatments are equally effective, but where one costs much more than the other.
The gathering and analysis of information about costs is called health economics. Health economic evaluation gives researchers, policymakers and those who deliver care a way to think about health benefits and costs. This enables them to try to get the best health gain for the most people, within a limited budget.
For example, economic costs involved in treating cancer include the cost of treatment, care and recovery, as well as the costs of prevention and training of healthcare personnel. Other costs include the economic costs of illness and premature death, the loss of economic productivity, decreases in the productivity of family members, and welfare and health insurance expenditure.