Cost-effectiveness of zoledronic acid vs clodronic acid for newly-diagnosed multiple myeloma from the United Kingdom healthcare system perspective

Thomas E Delea, Jason Rotter, Matthew Taylor, David Chandiwana, Manjinder Bains, Khalid El Ouagari, Satyin Kaura, Gareth J Morgan
Journal of Medical Economics 2012, 15 (3): 454-64

OBJECTIVE: In the Medical Research Council Myeloma IX Study (MMIX), zoledronic acid (ZOL) 4 mg 3-4/week reduced the incidence of skeletal-related events (SREs), increased progression free survival (PFS), and prolonged overall survival (OS), compared with clodronic acid (CLO) 1600 mg daily, in 1970 patients with newly-diagnosed multiple myeloma (MM).

METHODS: An economic model was used to project PFS, OS, the incidence of SREs and adverse events and expected lifetime healthcare costs for patients with newly-diagnosed MM who are alternatively assumed to receive ZOL or CLO. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio [ICER] of ZOL vs CLO was calculated as the ratio of the difference in cost to the difference in quality-adjusted life years (QALYs). Model inputs were based on results of MMIX and published sources.

RESULTS: Compared with CLO, treatment with ZOL increases QALYs by 0.30 at an additional cost of £1653, yielding an ICER of £5443 per QALY gained. If the threshold ICER is £20,000 per QALY, the estimated probability that ZOL is cost-effective is 90%.

LIMITATIONS: The main limitation of this study is the lack of data on the effects of zoledronic acid on survival beyond the end of follow-up in the MMIX trial. However, cost-effectiveness was favourable even under the highly conservative scenario in which the timeframe of the model was limited to 5 years.

CONCLUSIONS: Compared with clodronic acid, zoledronic acid represents a cost-effective treatment alternative in patients with multiple myeloma.

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