Increasing incidence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) creates epidemiological and economic burdens everywhere and influences everyone regardless of sex and age.12 Four main NCDs (cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, and chronic respiratory disease) account for over 12 million premature deaths worldwide annually.3 Mental ill health also imposes substantial economic burdens1 and should be included in policies for reducing the health and financial burdens of NCDs.

NCD policies have substantial implications for population health and national budgets. Countries therefore need to assess both the health and the financial aspects of these policies before implementation, especially in the context of the aim to achieve universal health coverage. We consider how to distinguish local best buys, wasted buys, and contestable buys among evidence based NCD interventions to improve setting of health priorities and offer suggestions for better decision making processes.

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