These papers were presented to an Office of Health Economics meeting in London in October 1989. The programme for the meeting was put together by a group of international experts interested in the economics of the pharmaceutical industry, and hence it reflects developments in health economics across Europe.

In his keynote speech. Sir Christopher France referred to health economics as having ‘come of age’ because the first health economist in the then Ministry of Health in London was appointed in 1968. It is interesting, therefore, to reflect that the Office of Health Economics had been set up by the pharmaceutical manufacturers six years earlier. Thus the meeting at which these papers were presented was a timely reminder that the pharmaceutical industry over the past 27 years has been at the forefront in stimulating discussion about the importance of cost effectiveness in medical care. Now in 1990 the industry is still ahead in undertaking economic analyses to demonstrate the fact that its medicines are often the most economical approach to therapy.

The papers in this booklet are a tribute to how far the understanding of economic analysis in the pharmaceutical field has advanced over the past 27 years.