Abstract

In the first part of this study, the cost effectiveness of the early detection programme for gastric cancer in the Max Peralta hospital in Cartago (Costa Rica) en terms of dollars spent to save one life was determined. In the second part, a stated-preference method was employed, using surveys, which allows us to compare costs and benefits of this programme. We took the willingness to pay of the participants in this programme of the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social as the basis for this analysis. If a comparison of the costs to save one life and the value of a statistical life saved were taken as a criterion for evaluating this programme, we would find a strong justification for this programme, if the productivity and effectiveness of the screening are sufficient. In order to reach this level of productivity and effectiveness, in terms number of members of high risk groups screened per day, several improvements in the organization of the programme are required. In case these improvements are not carried out, a weaker justification in terms of benefits for society for this programme exists. Nevertheless, we need to underline that a comparison of costs and benefits of this type should never be the only basis for a decision to continue this programme.
Keywords: Costs effectiveness analysis, cost-benefit analysis, value of a statistical life saved