The cost of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in Italy

Enzo Ballatori, Fausto Roila, Benedetta Ruggeri, Stella Porrozzi, Mauro Iannopollo, Giancarla Soru, Giorgio Cruciani, Bruno Daniele, Maria Cristina Locatelli, James Pellissier, Robert Deuson
Supportive Care in Cancer 2007, 15 (1): 31-8

GOALS OF WORK: The aim of this paper is to analyze the costs of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) in Italy.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this prospective observational study at seven public oncology centers, incidence and intensity of CINV daily for 8 days after chemotherapy in consecutive patients receiving cisplatin-containing chemotherapy were recorded. All costs related to CINV (direct medical, direct nonmedical, and indirect) were recorded (in 2003 euros).

MAIN RESULTS: A total of 172 patients were enrolled; cost data were available for 168 patients. Thirty-seven percent of patients experienced acute CINV, and 57% experienced delayed CINV; 39% achieved total control, defined as no nausea, vomiting, or rescue therapy. Mean per-patient costs of acute and delayed CINV were 30.03 euro from the hospital perspective, 4.9 euro from the patient perspective, and 26.85 euro from the National Health Service (NHS) perspective. Costs of CINV were highly variable among oncology centers, largely because of differences in procedures for preventing delayed CINV. These costs were four times higher when antiemetic drugs were prescribed and paid for by the NHS than when antiemetic prophylaxis was provided directly from hospital pharmacies. Moreover, in the delayed phase, the NHS incurred a 94% increase in costs for patients without total control. Overall costs for patients who did not experience total control of CINV were 35.57 euro higher than for those who did (85% increase).

CONCLUSIONS: Costs of CINV for the Italian NHS could be reduced if hospitals furnished antiemetic prophylaxis directly to patients. Better control of both acute and delayed CINV would improve patient well-being as well as reduce the budgetary impact of CINV in Italy.

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