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This lecture will provide a broad overview of the development of economic methods for evaluating public health and medical interventions prior to the 1970s. It will be divided into three sections:

  • Early contributions primarily from the United States, such as the work of Chapin and Sydenstricker to evaluate public health interventions prior to World War II
  • Development of economic evaluation during and after World War II, with an emphasis on the development of methods both by the military and by public health researchers such Klarman and Mushkin.  
  • Proposals for the evaluation of pharmaceuticals and other aspects of the NHS in the United Kingdom that arose from the late 1950s.

In addition to providing a review of the key contributions to health economic thought, the lecture will try to identify commonalities in the problems faced and in the methods of evaluation employed.  It will end with a list of five classic papers that all health economists should read so they can appreciate the history of their discipline.

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Richard Doll seminars

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