For at least two decades, there has been an intense debate on whether and how to include the value of lost productivity in economic evaluations. This debate is often reflected in pharmacoeconomic guidelines, which have been developed to indicate the methods and requirements for the design, execution, and reporting of economic evaluations in a particular country. Objective: To examine what various national pharmacoeconomic guidelines recommend regarding the identification, measurement, and valuation of lost productivity. Methods: First, the theoretical framework on how lost productivity can be identified, measured, and valued is described. Second, a summary sheet has been used to identify various pharmacoeconomic guidelines recommendations regarding the value of lost productivity. Results: Twenty-two of the 30 guidelines identified recommend performing economic evaluations using the societal perspective. Nevertheless, even if the societal perspective is recommended, it is not always clear how the value of lost productivity should be taken into account. Most guidelines recommend including the costs of absenteeism from paid and/or unpaid work. In addition, although no agreement exists on how lost productivity should be valued, none of the guidelines recommended using the US panel approach for the valuation of lost productivity. Discussion: The different recommendations hinder international transferability of the value of lost productivity. This difficulty is mainly caused by different recommendations regarding identification and valuation. These differences result from the debate and lack of consensus on including the value of lost productivity losses in economic evaluations. It will become easier to transfer data across jurisdictions if all data are reported transparently.
- lost productivity