Cost Effectiveness of Lead Screening
Berwick, Donald M.
Komaroff, Anthony L.
New England Journal of Medicine. 1982 Jun 10; 306(23): 1392-1398.
Lead poisoning in children may be tested by means of a free erythrocyte protoporphyrin (FEP) assay or by direct blood lead measurement. Using cost and health effect data reported in the literature, the authors performed a cost-effectiveness analysis to compare these two approaches with each other and with a no-screening strategy. Their findings differed with the rate of prevalence of lead poisoning. An FEP screening strategy was more cost effective than blood lead screening at all prevalence rates. At prevalence rates of 7% or more, it clearly saved money and reduced the probability of learning disability and mental retardation. At lower prevalences, it may be that resources would be better spent on alternative programs to benefit the children affected. (KIE abstract)
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