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A systematic review of observational studies evaluating costs of adverse drug reactions

Authors Batel Marques F, Penedones A, Mendes D, Alves C

Received 24 June 2016

Accepted for publication 22 July 2016

Published 24 August 2016 Volume 2016:8 Pages 413—426

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CEOR.S115689

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Lucy Goodman

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Giorgio Lorenzo Colombo

Francisco Batel Marques,1,2 Ana Penedones,1,2 Diogo Mendes,1,2 Carlos Alves,1,2

1CHAD – Centre for Health Technology Assessment and Drug Research, AIBILI – Association for Innovation and Biomedical Research on Light and Image, 2School of Pharmacy, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal

Introduction: The growing evidence of the increased frequency and severity of adverse drug events (ADEs), besides the negative impact on patient’s health status, indicates that costs due to ADEs may be steadily rising. Observational studies are an important tool in pharmacovigilance. Despite these studies being more susceptible to bias than experimental designs, they are more competent in assessing ADEs and their associated costs.
Objective: To identify and characterize the best available evidence on ADE-associated costs.
Methods: MEDLINE, Cochrane Library, and Embase were searched from 1995 to 2015. Observational studies were included. The methodological quality of selected studies was assessed by Cochrane Collaboration tool for experimental and observational studies. Studies were classified according to the setting analyzed in “ambulatory”, “hospital”, or both. Costs were classified as “direct” and “indirect”. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. The total incremental cost per patient with ADE was estimated.
Results: Twenty-nine (94%) longitudinal observational studies and two (7%) cross-sectional studies were included. Twenty-three (74%) studies were assessed with the highest methodological quality score. The studies were mainly conducted in the US (61%). Twenty (65%) studies evaluated any therapeutic group. Twenty (65%) studies estimated costs of ADEs leading to or prolonging hospitalization. The “direct costs” were evaluated in all studies, whereas only two (7%) also estimated the “indirect costs”. The “direct costs” in ambulatory ranged from €702.21 to €40,273.08, and the in hospital from €943.40 to €7,192.36.
Discussion: Methodological heterogeneities were identified among the included studies, such as design, type of ADEs, suspected drugs, and type and structure of costs. Despite such discrepancies, the financial burden associated with ADE costs was found to be high. In the light of the present findings, validated methods to measure ADE-associated costs need future research efforts.

Keywords: drug costs, health care costs, drug-related side effects and adverse reactions, review

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