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Price tags If the cost to develop and bring to market the medical treatment is around $104,000 per quality year of life gained by the patient, it could be justified and included in a health plan. (Photo: Shutterstock)

At what precise point does spending on a new medical treatment tip the scales and become too much to justify the investment?

The matter of the cost-effectiveness of new medical procedures, drugs and surgeries has been a topic of debate for decades. In the U.S. in particular, the debate has often been framed in political tones, such as: How can we deny a sick person their one chance to live a longer life by denying them access to a brand-new designer drug that costs a lot?

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