Cost-effectiveness analysis of disease modifiying drugs (interferons and glatiramer acetate) as first line treatments in remitting-relapsing multiple sclerosis patients

Rainel Sánchez-de la Rosa, Eliazar Sabater, Miguel Angel Casado, Rafael Arroyo
Journal of Medical Economics 2012, 15 (3): 424-33

UNLABELLED: Abstract Objective: The aim of this study was to assess cost-effectiveness of the different Disease Modifying Drugs (DMD) used as first-line treatments (interferons IM IFNβ-1a, SC IFNβ-1a, SC IFNβ-1b, and glatiramer acetate, GA) in Remitting-Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS) in Spain.

METHODS: A Markov model was developed to simulate the progression of a cohort of patients with RRMS, during a period of 10 years. Seven health states, defined by the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS), were considered in the model. Patients with an EDSS score less than 6.0 were assumed to be treated with one of the DMD. In addition, all patients were assumed to receive symptomatic treatment. The monthly transition probabilities of the model were obtained from the literature. The analysis was performed from the societal perspective, in which both direct and indirect (losses in productivity) healthcare costs (€, 2010) were included. A discount rate of 3% was applied to both costs and efficacy results.

RESULTS: GA was the less costly strategy (€322,510), followed by IM IFNβ-1a (€329,595), SC IFNβ-1b (€ 333,925), and SC IFNβ-1a (€348,208). IM IFNβ-1a has shown the best efficacy results, with 4.176 quality-adjusted life years (QALY), followed by SC IFNβ-1a (4.158 QALY), SC IFNβ-1b (4.157 QALY), and GA (4.117 QALY). Incremental costs per QALY gained with IM IFNβ-1a were €-1,005,194/QALY, €-223,397/QALY, and €117,914/QALY in comparison to SC IFNβ-1a, SC IFNβ-1b, and GA, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: First-line treatment with GA is the less costly strategy for the treatment of patients with RRMS. Treatment with IM IFNβ-1a is a dominant strategy (lower cost and higher QALY) compared with SC IFNβ-1a and SC IFNβ-1b. However, IM IFNβ-1a is not a cost-effective strategy vs GA, because incremental cost per QALY gained with IM IFNβ-1a exceeds the €30,000 per QALY threshold commonly used in Spain.

LIMITATIONS: The highly-restrictive inclusion criteria of clinical trials limits generalization of the results on efficacy to all patients with multiple sclerosis. Availability of data for head-to-head comparisons is associated with the use of information from clinical trials.

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