Cost-effectiveness of fingolimod versus interferon beta-1a for relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis in the United States

Soyon Lee, Daniel C Baxter, Brendan Limone, Matthew S Roberts, Craig I Coleman
Journal of Medical Economics 2012, 15 (6): 1088-96

OBJECTIVE: Fingolimod has been shown to be more efficacious than interferon (IFN) beta-1a, but at a higher drug acquisition cost. The aim of this study was to assess the cost-effectiveness of fingolimod compared to IFN beta-1a in patients diagnosed with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) in the US.

METHODS: A Markov model comparing fingolimod to intramuscular IFN beta-1a using a US societal perspective and a 10-year time horizon was developed. A cohort of 37-year-old patients with RRMS and a Kurtzke Expanded Disability Status Scale score of 0-2.5 were assumed. Data sources included the Trial Assessing Injectable Interferon vs FTY720 Oral in Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (TRANSFORMS) and other published studies of MS. Outcomes included costs in 2011 US dollars, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), number of relapses avoided, and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs).

RESULTS: Compared to IFN beta-1a, fingolimod was associated with fewer relapses (0.41 vs 0.73 per patient per year) and more QALYs gained (6.7663 vs 5.9503), but at a higher cost ($565,598 vs $505,234). This resulted in an ICER of $73,975 per QALY. Results were most sensitive to changes in drug costs and the disutility of receiving IFN beta-1a. Monte Carlo simulation demonstrated fingolimod was cost-effective in 35% and 70% of 10,000 iterations, assuming willingness-to-pay thresholds of $50,000 and $100,000 per QALY, respectively.

LIMITATIONS: Event rates were primarily derived from a single randomized clinical trial with 1-year duration of follow-up and extrapolated to a 10-year time horizon. Comparison was made to only one disease-modifying drug-intramuscular IFN beta-1a.

CONCLUSION: Fingolimod use is not likely to be cost-effective compared to IFN beta-1a unless fingolimod cost falls below $3476 per month or a higher than normal willingness-to-pay threshold is accepted by decision-makers.

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