Cost-effectiveness of four immunomodulatory therapies for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis: a Markov model based on data a Balkan country in socioeconomic transition

Slobodan M Janković, Marina Kostić, Marija Radosavljević, Danka Tesić, Natasa Stefanović-Stoimenov, Ivan Stevanović, Sladana Raković, Jelena Aleksić, Marko Folić, Aleksandra Aleksić, Ivana Mihajlović, Nenad Biorac, Jelena Borlja, Radosava Vucković
Vojnosanitetski Pregled. Military-medical and Pharmaceutical Review 2009, 66 (7): 556-62

BACKGROUND/AIM: A cost-effectiveness analyses of immunomodulatory treatments for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) in developed countries have shown that any benefit from these drugs is achieved at very high cost. The aim of our study was to compare the cost-effectiveness of five treatment strategies in patients diagnosed with RRMS (symptom management alone and in combination with subcutaneous glatiramer acetate, intramuscular interferon beta-1a, subcutaneous interferon beta-1a, or intramuscular interferon [beta-1b) in a Balkan country in socio-economic transition.

METHODS: The Markov model was developed based on the literature about effectiveness and on local Serbian cost calculations. The duration of a cycle in the model was set to a month. The baseline time horizon was 480 months (40 years). The societal perspective was used for costs and outcomes, and they were discounted for 3% annually. Monte Carlo micro simulation with 1000 virtual patients was done.

RESULTS: Significant gain with immunomodulatory therapy was achieved only in relapse-free years, while the time spent in health states EDSS 0.0-5.5 was longer with symptomatic therapy only, and gains in life years and QALYs were only marginal. One QALY gained costs more than a billion of Serbian dinars (more than 20 million US dollars), making each of the four immunomodulatory therapies cost-ineffective.

CONCLUSION: Our study suggests that immunomodulatory therapy of RRMS in a Balkan country in socioeconomic transition is not cost-effective, regardless of the type of the therapy. Moderate gain in relapse-free years does not translate to gain in QALYs, probably due to adverse effects of immunomodulatory therapy.

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