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Putting value on health

For every pound the UK invests in cancer research, 40 pence is earned in benefit every year there after, Brunel's Health Economics Research Group (HERG) demonstrated in 2014. Presenting its findings at the All-Party Parliament Group for Medical Research, the study was the first of its kind to associate economic gains with publically-funded cancer research.

For more than 25 years, HERG has built an international reputation in health economics, providing policy relevant research nationally and internationally, on everything from tobacco control to child vaccination. Using evidence to alter government policy, HERG attempts to change attitudes in the health sector with a cross-disciplinary approach to health and finance. This means the group can give value to topics that are often excluded from 'standard' health technology assessments.

Another strand of the group's research is estimating the cost effectiveness of adopting new health-related technologies. One such project valued a screening programme for abdominal aortic aneurysms - a disease that kills 6,800 men each year. In 2008, HERG's work led to the introduction of the programme across England, reported to have offered 300,000 screenings to men over the age of 65. Following publication of the results in 2011, the Department of Health said, "This has made a significant contribution to strengthening the evidence-base for policy making through a range of applied economic research. "Since then, guidelines across Europe and North America have been altered, halving the number of deaths.