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Potential resource and cost saving analysis of subcutaneous versus intravenous administration for rituximab in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and for trastuzumab in breast cancer in 17 Italian hospitals based on a systematic survey

Authors Ponzetti C, Canciani M, Farina M, Era S, Walzer S

Received 29 September 2015

Accepted for publication 21 December 2015

Published 23 May 2016 Volume 2016:8 Pages 227—233


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Giorgio Lorenzo Colombo

Clemente Ponzetti,1 Monica Canciani,2 Massimo Farina,2 Sara Era,3 Stefan Walzer4,5

1Group Policlinic Monza, Alessandria, National Scientific Associazione Nazionale dei Medici delle Direzioni Ospedaliere (National Association of Hospital Physicians), Bologna, 2Studio EmmEffe S.r.l, Milan, 3Roche S.p.a., Monza, Italy; 4MArS Market Access and Pricing Strategy GmbH, Weil am Rhein, 5Health Care Management, State University Baden-Wuerttemberg, Loerrach, Germany

Introduction: Subcutaneous versions of different oncology therapies have been available for patients for a few years, yet patient-relevant and hospital benefits have not been assessed in real life.
Methods: In order to analyze the impact of subcutaneous administrations for rituximab or trastuzumab in comparison to the respective intravenous mode a primary research in Italy was executed. The study’s primary objectives were to analyze the resource and cost implications from different perspectives (patient, medical staff) in the real world. The route of administration was discussed and aligned with the participating centers in order to capture all relevant therapy parts. After the successful execution of a pilot study 19 centers in six regions in Italy were recruited to participate.
Results: Significant time savings might be achieved with the subcutaneous mode through significantly lower patient preparation time including less time preparing the actual dosing for each individual patient. The total time difference is 3.3 hours with rituximab in hematology (non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma), which adds up to 23.55 hours for a full course of treatment per patient (overall preparation time: 40.1 hours intravenous [95% confidence interval (CI): ±0.47] vs 16.6 hours subcutaneous [95% CI: ±0.2]). In early breast cancer (trastuzumab), the time saving might be 3.3 hours for the first cycle and the total time saving for patient preparation might be 17.2 hours (overall preparation time: 38.8 hours intravenous [95% CI: ±9.42] vs 21.6 hours subcutaneous [95% CI: ±9.9]). Furthermore, in both settings, the time of medical staff was reduced and could hence be used elsewhere. Finally, in case wastage was experienced with intravenous therapies, there were potential significant reductions in wastage through the subcutaneous administration (93%–100%) with cost savings of €6,057 with rituximab subcutaneous and €28,399 with trastuzumab subcutaneous administration for the full treatment course.
Conclusion: There are significant resource and cost savings due to subcutaneous administration with rituximab and trastuzumab in Italy based on a systematic survey. With the availability of a subcutaneous use of rituximab and trastuzumab, hospitals, patients and payers in general still have the current standard of care therapies available in the approved indications for a more efficient use of time and resources.

Keywords: health economics, cost savings, oncology, intravenous therapy, subcutaneous therapy

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