Willingness to pay for an mRNA-based anti-cancer treatment: results from a contingent valuation study in Israel

Omer Ben-Aharon, Ruslan Sergienko, Georgi Iskrov, Dan Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: mRNA technology is currently being investigated for a range of oncology indications. We assessed the willingness to pay (WTP) of the general population in Israel for a hypothetical novel mRNA-based treatment for oncology indications. Methods: We used a contingent valuation methodology to elicit WTP using a web-based questionnaire. A sample of adult participants were presented with a hypothetical scenario in which an mRNA-based intervention increased the likelihood of a cure for various cancer types from 20% to 40% (half of the sample), or 60% (the other half of the sample). Results: 531 respondents completed the questionnaire. The mean, median and mode WTP for the proposed hypothetical treatment in both scenarios were ILS65,000 (± ILS114,000), ILS20,000 and ILS50,000, respectively (1USD = 3.4ILS). The WTP was skewed towards zero, and 9.6% of the respondents were not willing to pay any amount. WTP higher amounts was significantly associated with higher income (p < 0.01), self-reported good health (p < 0.05), supplementary health insurance (p < 0.05), Jews compared to other populations (p < 0.01), interest in technology (p < 0.001) and a tendency to adopt medical innovations (p < 0.001). No statistical difference between the 40% vs. the 60% potential cure scenarios was found. Logistic and OLS regressions indicated that age, religion, income, and interest in adopting medical innovations were the best predictors of respondents' WTP. Conclusion: Despite the scientific breakthroughs in oncology treatment over the last few decades, many types of cancer are still incurable. Given the expected development of innovative mRNA-based treatments for cancer, these results should inform policymakers, the pharmaceutical industry and other stakeholders on the future coverage and reimbursement of these technologies incorporating patients’ and societal views. To date, WTP considerations have not been given much weight in prioritization of drug reimbursement processes, neither in Israel nor in other countries. As a pioneer in adoption of the mRNA technology, Israel can also lead the incorporation of WTP considerations in this field.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9
JournalIsrael Journal of Health Policy Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 19 Feb 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2024.


  • Cancer
  • Contingent valuation
  • Oncology
  • Willingness to pay (WTP)
  • mRNA


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