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Bias within economic evaluations – the impact of considering the future entry of lower-cost generics on currently estimated incremental cost-effectiveness ratios of a new drug

Authors Guertin J, Mitchell D, Ali F, LeLorier J

Received 12 June 2015

Accepted for publication 17 August 2015

Published 6 October 2015 Volume 2015:7 Pages 497—503


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Shawn Li

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Giorgio Colombo

Jason R Guertin,1,2 Dominic Mitchell,1,3 Farzad Ali,4 Jacques LeLorier1

1CHUM Research Center, Montréal, QC, 2Programs for Assessment of Health Technology in Health Research Institute, Hamilton, ON, 3Logimétrix Inc., Repentigny, 4Pfizer Canada Inc., Kirkland, QC, Canada

Background: Most economic evaluation models compare a new patented drug (NPRx) to a generic comparator. Drug costs within these models are usually limited to the retail cost of both drugs at the time of model conception. However, the retail cost of the NPRx is expected to drop once generic versions of this molecule are introduced following the expiration of the NPRx’s patent. The objective of this study was to examine the impact on the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of the future introduction of lower-cost generic versions of the NPRx within the model’s time horizon.
Methods: We examined the impact of this parameter with the use of two approaches: 1) a mathematical proof identifying its impact on the NPRx’s ICER; and 2) applying this parameter to a previously published economic model comparing a NPRx to a generic comparator and identifying what would have been the NPRx’s ICER had this model considered this parameter.
Results: As expected, both the mathematical proof and the application to the previously published economic model showed that considering the future introduction of lower-cost generic versions of the NPRx within the model’s time horizon lowers the NPRx’s ICER. The timing of the future entry of lower-cost generic molecules, their relative price compared to that of the patented version, and the discount rate applied to future costs all influenced the results.
Conclusion: An ICER estimated within economic evaluations comparing NPRx to generic comparators which ignore the future introduction of lower-cost generic versions of the NPRx within the model’s time horizon will tend to be overestimated. Inclusion of this parameter should be considered within future economic evaluations.

Keywords: loss of patent exclusivity, health economics, cost and cost analysis

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