STUDY OBJECTIVE: To present a formula for equity adjusted years of life saved (EYLS). DESIGN: A mailed questionnaire. The survey participants were given a scenario describing a trade off between a health maximization programme and a programme that is less efficient, but eliminates social inequalities. SETTING: Swedish politicians responsible for health care in the county councils. PARTICIPANTS: A sample of 449 Swedish politicians responsible for health care in the county councils. MAIN RESULTS: The principle of health maximization was rejected. Under certain conditions, the Swedish politicians are prepared to sacrifice 15 of 100 preventable deaths to achieve equity. Based on the results a formula for EYLS is presented. CONCLUSIONS: An equity adjusted formula for years of life saved has been proposed, but must be developed and revised according to each country's specific conditions and value premises. In the future, such formulas could serve the purpose of incorporating explicit considerations of equity into cost effectiveness analyses.
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