Incorporating productivity loss in health economic evaluations: A review of guidelines and practices worldwide for research agenda in China

Shan Jiang, Yitong Wang, Lei Si, Xiao Zang, Yuan Yuan Gu, Yawen Jiang, Gordon G. Liu, Jing Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Introduction Productivity loss may contribute to a large proportion of costs of health conditions in an economic evaluation from a societal perspective, but there is currently a lack of methodological consensus on how productivity loss should be measured and valued. Despite the research progress surrounding this issue in other countries, it has been rarely discussed in China. Methods We reviewed the official guidelines on economic evaluations in different countries and regions and screened the literature to summarise the extent to which productivity loss was incorporated in economic evaluations and the underlying methodological challenges. Results A total of 48 guidelines from 46 countries/regions were included. Although 32 (67%) guidelines recommend excluding productivity loss in the base case analysis, 23 (48%) guidelines recommend including productivity loss in the base case or additional analyses. Through a review of systematic reviews and the economic evaluation studies included in these reviews, we found that the average probability of incorporating productivity loss in an economic evaluation was 10.2%. Among the economic evaluations (n=478) that explicitly considered productivity loss, most (n=455) considered losses from paid work, while only a few studies (n=23) considered unpaid work losses. Recognising the existing methodological challenges and the specific context of China, we proposed a practical research agenda and a disease list for progress on this topic, including the development of the disease list comprehensively consisting of health conditions where the productivity loss should be incorporated into economic evaluations. Conclusion An increasing number of guidelines recommend the inclusion of productivity loss in the base case or additional analyses of economic evaluation. We optimistically expect that more Chinese researchers notice the importance of incorporating productivity loss in economic evaluations and anticipate guidelines that may be suitable for Chinese practitioners and decision-makers that facilitate the advancement of research on productivity loss measurement and valuation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere009777
JournalBMJ Global Health
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 17 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
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  • Health economics
  • Review

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Review


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