Back to Journals » Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management » Volume 13

An estimate of the cost of administering intravenous biological agents in Spanish day hospitals

Authors Nolla JM, Martín E, Llamas P, Manero J, Rodríguez de la Serna A, Fernández-Miera MF, Rodríguez M, López JM, Ivanova A, Aragón B

Received 4 May 2016

Accepted for publication 24 September 2016

Published 14 March 2017 Volume 2017:13 Pages 325—334


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Garry Walsh

Joan Miquel Nolla,1 Esperanza Martín,2 Pilar Llamas,3 Javier Manero,4 Arturo Rodríguez de la Serna,5 Manuel Francisco Fernández-Miera,6 Mercedes Rodríguez,6 José Manuel López,7 Alexandra Ivanova,8 Belén Aragón9

1Rheumatology Department, IDIBELL-Hospital Universitari de Bellvitge, Barcelona, 2Hospital Universitario de Getafe, Madrid, 3Hospital Universitario Fundación Jiménez Díaz, Madrid, 4Hospital Universitario Miguel Servet, Zaragoza, 5Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau, Barcelona, 6Hospital Universitario Marqués de Valdecilla, Santander, 7Hospital Universitario Virgen del Rocío, Sevilla, 8Max Weber Institute, Madrid, 9MSD, Madrid, Spain

Objective: To estimate the unit costs of administering intravenous (IV) biological agents in day hospitals (DHs) in the Spanish National Health System.
Patients and methods: Data were obtained from 188 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, collected from nine DHs, receiving one of the following IV therapies: infliximab (n=48), rituximab (n=38), abatacept (n=41), or tocilizumab (n=61). The fieldwork was carried out between March 2013 and March 2014. The following three groups of costs were considered: 1) structural costs, 2) material costs, and 3) staff costs. Staff costs were considered a fixed cost and were estimated according to the DH theoretical level of activity, which includes, as well as personal care of each patient, the DH general activities (complete imputation method, CIM). In addition, an alternative calculation was performed, in which the staff costs were considered a variable cost imputed according to the time spent on direct care (partial imputation method, PIM). All costs were expressed in euros for the reference year 2014.
Results: The average total cost was €146.12 per infusion (standard deviation [SD] ±87.11; CIM) and €29.70 per infusion (SD ±11.42; PIM). The structure-related costs per infusion varied between €2.23 and €62.35 per patient and DH; the cost of consumables oscillated between €3.48 and €20.34 per patient and DH. In terms of the care process, the average difference between the shortest and the longest time taken by different hospitals to administer an IV biological therapy was 113 minutes.
Conclusion: The average total cost of infusion was less than that normally used in models of economic evaluation coming from secondary sources. This cost is even less when the staff costs are imputed according to the PIM. A high degree of variability was observed between different DHs in the cost of the consumables, in the structure-related costs, and in those of the care process.

Keywords: day hospitals, rheumatoid arthritis, intravenous biological agents, unit cost of infusion, variability, care process

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]