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Cost-effectiveness of ranibizumab versus aflibercept in the treatment of visual impairment due to diabetic macular edema: a UK healthcare perspective

Authors Regnier SA, Malcolm W, Haig J, Xue W

Received 10 February 2015

Accepted for publication 18 March 2015

Published 6 May 2015 Volume 2015:7 Pages 235—247


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Giorgio Lorenzo Colombo

Stephane A Régnier,1 William Malcolm,2 Jennifer Haig,3 Weiguang Xue4

1Novartis Pharma AG, Basel, Switzerland; 2Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK Ltd, Frimley Business Park, UK; 3Optum, Burlington, ON, Canada; 4Optum, Uxbridge, UK

Background: Ranibizumab and aflibercept are alternative anti-vascular endothelial growth factor agents approved for the treatment of visual impairment (VI) due to diabetic macular edema (DME).
Objective: To estimate, from a UK healthcare perspective, the cost-effectiveness of ranibizumab 0.5 mg pro re nata (PRN) and ranibizumab 0.5 mg treat and extend (T&E) compared with aflibercept 2 mg every 8 weeks after five initial monthly doses (2q8) in the treatment of VI due to DME.
Methods: A Markov model previously reviewed by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence was used to simulate the long-term outcomes and costs of treating DME. Health states were defined by increments of ten letters in best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA), with a 3-month cycle length. Patients could gain (or lose) a maximum of two health states between cycles. A 3-year treatment time frame and a lifetime horizon were used. Future costs and health outcomes were discounted at 3.5% per annum. Patient baseline characteristics and the efficacy of ranibizumab PRN were derived using data from the RESTORE study. The relative efficacies of ranibizumab PRN, ranibizumab T&E, and aflibercept were assessed with a network meta-analysis. Different utilities were assigned based on BCVA and whether the treated eye was the better- or the worse-seeing eye. Sensitivity analyses tested the robustness of the model.
Results: Lifetime costs per patient of treating DME were £20,019 for ranibizumab PRN, £22,930 for ranibizumab T&E, and £25,859 for aflibercept 2q8. Ranibizumab was dominant over aflibercept, with an incremental gain of 0.05 quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) and cost savings of £5,841 (PRN) and £2,930 (T&E) compared with aflibercept. Ranibizumab PRN and ranibizumab T&E had 79% and 67% probability, respectively, of being cost-effective relative to aflibercept at a willingness-to-pay threshold of £20,000/QALY. When assuming the higher end of PRN injection frequency (15.9 over 3 years), the cost savings associated with ranibizumab were £3,969.
Conclusion: From a UK healthcare perspective, ranibizumab provides greater health gains with lower overall costs than aflibercept in patients with VI due to DME.

Keywords: Markov model, cost-utility, health states, macula, retina

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