Cost-effectiveness simulation model of biologic strategies for treating to target rheumatoid arthritis in Germany

Ariel Beresniak, Christoph Baerwald, Henning Zeidler, Klaus Krüger, Aljoscha S Neubauer, Danielle Dupont, Sonja Merkesdal
Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology 2013, 31 (3): 400-8

OBJECTIVES: The treatment of active rheumatoid arthritis (RA) usually requires different therapeutic options used sequentially in case of an insufficient response (IR) to previous agents. Since there is a lack of clinical trials comparing biologic treatment sequences, simulation models might add to the understanding of optimal treatment sequences and their cost-effectiveness. The objective of this study was to assess the cost-effectiveness of different biologic treatment strategies in patients with an IR to anti-TNF agents, based on levels of disease activity from the German public payer's perspective.

METHODS: A cost-effectiveness sequential model was developed in accordance with local RA treatment strategies, using DAS28 scores as dichotomous effectiveness endpoints: achieving remission/no remission (RS/no RS) or a state of low disease activity (LDAS/no LDAS). Costs were estimated using resource utilisation data obtained from a large observational German cohort. Advanced simulations were conducted to assess the cost-effectiveness over 2 years of four sequential biologic strategies composed of up to 3 biologic agents, namely anti-TNF agents, abatacept or rituximab, in patients with moderate-to-severe active RA and an IR to at least one anti-TNF agent.

RESULTS: Over two years, the biological sequence including abatacept after an IR to one anti-TNF agent appeared the most effective and cost-effective versus (vs.) use after two anti-TNF agents (€633 vs. €1,067/day in LDAS and €1,222 vs. €3,592/day in remission), and vs a similar sequence using rituximab (€633 vs. €728/day in LDAS and €1,222 vs. €1,812/day in remission). The sequence using a 3rd anti-TNF agent was less effective and cost-effective than the same sequence using abatacept (€2,000 vs. €1,067/day in LDAS and €6,623 vs. €3,592/day in remission). All differences were statistically significant (p<0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that in patients with an IR to at least one anti-TNF agent, biologic sequences including abatacept appear more efficacious and cost-effective than similar sequences including rituximab or only cycled anti-TNF agents.

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