Introduction to Health Economics


To develop the required theoretical and technical skills to prepare, analyse and evaluate health policies, programs and strategies according to an economic perspective.
To be able to present examples of economic concepts used in the health care field such as: opportunity cost; scarcity and priority; demand, supply and price; funding, payment and provision; efficiency and equity; economic evaluation.
To be able to understand the economic importance of the health care sector in the economy of a country and the impact of the economic determinants in the population health production function.
To understand the main economic concepts and topics required for the rational management of health care units.
To provide a perspective of health economics on its different research topics and its contribution for the study of health care.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Francisco Ventura Ramos


Weekly - Available soon

Total - 20

Teaching language



Available soon


Barros, P.P. (2009) Economia da Saúde: Conceitos e Comportamentos. Almedina, Coimbra.
Clewer, A. e D. Perkins (1998) Economics for Health Care Management. Prentice Hall, London.
McPake, B., L. Kumaranayake e C. Normand (2002) Health Economics: An International Perspective.  Routledge, London.
Pereira, J. (2004) Economia da Saúde:  Glossário de termos e conceitos.  Documento de trabalho 1/93 (4ª Edição). APES, Lisboa.
Simões, J., P.P. Barros e J. Pereira, J. (2008) A Sustentabilidade Financeira do SNS. Ministério da Saúde, Lisboa.

Teaching method

The teaching methodology is varied and seeks to promote an active and participatory learning. Reading of fundamental texts is required and discussion of topics or exercises occurs regularly.
About half of the sessions will begin with a presentation by a teacher, followed by a discussion of topics related to the subject under examination where students are encouraged to intervene.
The other sessions will be more practical with problem solving tasks, presentation of results and discussion of implications of the themes of education for practice management organizations and health systems. The seminars consist of group work with the presence of a teacher, which develops in-depth discussion of the topics in the syllabus.
Assessment of commitment, work and participation (30%), made through observation of student participation and the presentation and discussion of topics and exercises in sessions.
Individual exam (70%) with multiple choice questions, short and development questions, dealing with the topics taught.

Evaluation method

Available soon

Subject matter

Introduction to health Economics; empirical applications of economics in health care; scarcity, choice and priorities.
Economics, market and health; market failures in health care; asymmetric information and agency; externalities.
Health care supply and providers; payment to individual providers; funding models: hospitals, primary care, etc.
Financing sources; health expenditures and outcomes; macroeconomics and health; expenditure control; economic development, health and health care.
Equity and disparities in health; measuring inequity in health; equity in the provision and funding of health care
Economic evaluation in health; cost-effectiveness analysis; cost-utility analysis; cost-benefit analysis; critical analysis of health economics studies; case studies


Programs where the course is taught: