Stakeholders’ preferred characteristics of preference measurement methods identified

Collecting patients’ preferences is a way to systematically listen to the patient voice in drug development. The companies that develop medicines and the regulators that decide if they should be approved and reimbursed all have a series of decisions to make. Knowing what patients would prefer can support their decision-making. There are many different methods to collect patient preferences and all have different characteristics, but which characteristics do stakeholders find important? A recent PREFER publication reveals the answer.

“We want to build the knowledge about using patient preference studies as a way to collect patient input to medical product decision-making. Part of that work includes finding out which of the most commonly used preference methods produce the most valuable results to the people who are going to use them. We asked industry, regulatory and HTA representatives to share their preferences about methods characteristics to discover what is most important to them and what in the end will ensure that patient voices can be listened to in drug development,” says Jorien Veldwijk, Assistant ?rofessor at Erasmus University Rotterdam and University Medical Center Utrecht and one of the authors of a paper recently published in the journal Value in Health.

With 93 responses, it became clear that decision-makers generally value methods that can estimate how patients make trade-offs between different treatment characteristics and how patients value treatment characteristics against each other. But it’s not all that simple. It turns out, additional method characteristics matter at certain specific decision points. Early in the medical product life cycle, for example, qualitative information is important. And in later stages of development, the validity of the method and the ability to identify different preference patterns becomes important. 

Although Discrete Choice Experiment is the most commonly applied method, other methods, Swing Weighting, Best-Wort Scaling and Probabilistic Threshold Technique, scored high among decision-makers. According to the authors, this suggests other methods than the predominant Discrete Choice Experiments should be considered to address decision-makers’ needs. This would help researchers choose between preference elicitation methods to make sure decision-makers’ needs at different decision points are met. Further development of guidelines for the design, conduct and analysis of these methods could enhance their use.

The paper is currently in press but can be accessed on the journal website:

Jorien Veldwijk, Esther de Bekker-Grob, Juhaeri Juhaeri, Eline van Overbeeke, Stephanie Tcherny-Lessenot, Cathy Anne Pinto, Rachael L. DiSantostefano, Catharina G.M. Groothuis-Oudshoorn, Suitability of Preference Methods Across the Medical Product Lifecycle: A Multicriteria Decision Analysis, Value in Health, 2022,

By Anna Holm





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The Patient Preferences in Benefit-Risk Assessments during the Drug Life Cycle (PREFER) project has received funding from the Innovative Medicines Initiative 2 Joint Undertaking under grant agreement No 115966. This Joint Undertaking receives support from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA).