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Most consumers want predictive tests to learn if a disease is in their future
Date:1/7/2011

BOSTON, Mass.Consumers may place a high value on information to predict their future health, and may be willing to pay out of pocket to get it. In a national survey conducted by researchers at Tufts Medical Center, roughly 76% of people indicated that they would take a hypothetical predictive test to find out if they will later develop Alzheimer's disease, breast or prostate cancer, or arthritis. On average, respondents were willing to pay $300 to $600, depending on the specific disease and the accuracy of the test.

Published online in the journal Health Economics, the study examined individuals' willingness to take and pay for hypothetical predictive laboratory tests in which there would be no direct treatment consequences. Overall, researchers found that in most situations, people were willing to pay for this 'value of knowing'even if the tests were not perfectly accurate.

Responses to the survey varied according to information provided about the disease risk profile and the accuracy of the hypothetical test. Of the 1463 respondents, willingness to be tested was greatest for prostate cancer (87% of respondents), followed by breast cancer (81%), arthritis (79%), and Alzheimer's disease (72%). Average willingness to pay varied from roughly $300 for an arthritis test to $600 for a prostate cancer test.

"This study brings us a step closer to understanding people's preferences and motivations for wanting a diagnostic test, even if it has no bearing on subsequent medical treatment," says lead author Peter J. Neumann, ScD, director of the Center for the Evaluation of Value and Risk in Health at the Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies at Tufts Medical Center. "While we have to proceed cautiously in this area, given that tests have costs and risks as well as benefits, our study suggests that many people value informationboth for its own sake and because they will adjust lifestyle and behavior choices accordingl
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Contact: Caitlin Hool
caitlin.hool@gabbe.com
212-220-4444
InHealth: The Institute for Health Technology Studies
Source:Eurekalert

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