In Applied health economics and health policy
In 2019, we embarked on a study on the economic burden of multiple sclerosis (MS) in Lebanon, in collaboration with a premier Lebanese MS center. This coincided with a triple disaster in Lebanon, comprising the drastic economic and financial crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the consequences of the explosion of Beirut's port. Specifically, the economic and financial turmoil made the valuation of costs challenging. Researchers could face similar challenges, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) where economic crises and recessions are recurrent phenomena. This paper aims to discuss steps taken to overcome the fluctuation of the prices of resources to get a valid valuation of societal costs during times of a financial and economic crisis. In the absence of local costing data and guidelines for conducting cost-of-illness (COI) studies, this paper provides empirical recommendations on the valuation of costs that are particularly relevant in LMICs. We recommend (1) clear reporting and justification of the country-specific context, year of costing, assumptions, data sources, and valuation methods, as well as the indicators used to adjust cost for inflation during different periods of fluctuation of prices; (2) collecting prices of each resource from multiple and various sources; (3) conducting a sensitivity analysis; and (4) reporting costs in local currency and Purchasing Power Parity dollars (PPP$). Precision and transparency in reporting prices of resources and their sources are markers of the reliability of the COI studies.
Dahham Jalal, Kremer Ingrid, Hiligsmann Mickaël, Hamdan Kamal, Nassereddine Abdallah, Evers Silvia M A A, Rizk Rana