The increasing role of economics in health policy and health decision-making has been somewhat controversial. In a world with infinite resources for health and healthcare, economic evaluation would play a minor role. However, in 'real-world' health systems where scarce resources must be allocated, economic evaluation can provide evidence and develop guidance for decision-makers on the reimbursement and administration of new health technologies in a given (national) healthcare system. In this context, HTA can be regarded as a bridge between research evidence and health policy.
In addition to methodological issues in economic evaluation, the context in which the evaluation will be used and the perspectives from which the evaluation will be done (i.e. which costs and benefits are counted) are critical for the use of economic evaluation in HTA.