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Economic evaluation of anti-TNF agents for patients with rheumatoid arthritis in Greece

Authors Fragoulakis V, Vitsou E, Hernandez AC, Maniadakis N

Received 2 October 2014

Accepted for publication 20 November 2014

Published 16 January 2015 Volume 2015:7 Pages 85—93


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 5

Editor who approved publication: Dr Giorgio Colombo

Vasilis Fragoulakis,1 Elli Vitsou,2 Ana Cristina Hernandez,2 Nikolaos Maniadakis1

1National School of Public Health, 2Pfizer Hellas, Athens, Greece

Objectives: We aimed to estimate the total mean annual treatment cost of different therapy options for patients with moderate-to-severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in Greece.
Methods: A cost-minimization approach was adopted. An economic model was developed to estimate the direct costs of the three widely used treatments within a 1-year time horizon, from a health care payer perspective, either for new or for existing patients. Data on resource use, dose escalation, and frequency of therapy were based on a nationwide field survey of rheumatologists. Other analyses were also undertaken based on evidence from the literature. Total cost comprised the cost of drugs, administration, and hospital day care visits. Unit cost data were obtained from the price bulletin and the government gazettes issued by the Ministry of Health. Due to the short time horizon of the study, the cost was not discounted.
Results: The mean annual total cost per new (or per existing) responder patient on etanercept was estimated at €9,845 (€9,840), and the total cost on etanercept/methotrexate (MTX) was estimated at €9,857 (€9,852). Therapy with etanercept had lower annual cost relative to adalimumab and infliximab. On an annual basis, it was estimated that the difference between etanercept monotherapy and adalimumab monotherapy was €544 (€1,323). Similarly, the difference between etanercept/MTX and infliximab/MTX was €1,871 (€1,490) and €543 (€1,323), respectively, relative to adalimumab/MTX. Results remained constant under other scenario analyses undertaken.
Conclusion: In the real-life practice setting in Greece, where dose intensity and frequency differences occur, etanercept alone or in combination with MTX, if prescribed as per label, represents the option with lower annual cost per patient when compared with adalimumab or infliximab in patients with RA. These results hold true as long as the assumptions and data used in the analysis remain stable and may alter if any of the underlying parameters, such as drug price, change.

Keywords: etanercept, dose escalation, economic analysis

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