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Medical resource utilization for administration of trastuzumab in a New Zealand oncology outpatient setting: a time and motion study

Authors North R, Harvey V, Cox L, Ryan S

Received 27 March 2015

Accepted for publication 7 May 2015

Published 29 July 2015 Volume 2015:7 Pages 423—430


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Giorgio Lorenzo Colombo

Richard T North,1 Vernon J Harvey,2 Levonne C Cox,2 Stuart N Ryan3

1Cancer and Haematology Service, Tauranga Hospital, Tauranga, 2Regional Cancer and Blood Centre, Auckland City Hospital, Auckland, 3Medical Affairs, Roche Products (New Zealand) Ltd, Auckland, New Zealand

Background: In New Zealand, trastuzumab is standard therapy for human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER2)-positive early and metastatic breast cancer. Given the requirement for ongoing adjuvant or maintenance treatment and intravenous (IV) delivery, such a regimen consumes considerable health care resources. The development of a subcutaneous (SC) trastuzumab formulation with a short administration time offers the potential to reduce hospital expenditure. The aim of this study was to determine medical resource utilization associated with administration of trastuzumab SC injection via handheld syringe vs trastuzumab IV infusion in patients with HER2-positive breast cancer in New Zealand.
Methods: This noninterventional, descriptive study was conducted at the outpatient oncology centers at Auckland City and Tauranga Hospitals. Trained observers recorded times associated with health care professional (HCP) tasks and consumables use associated with preparation and administration of trastuzumab IV or SC in women with early or metastatic breast cancer. The cost for each formulation was calculated as the mean cost of HCP time (based on Pharmaceutical Management Agency hourly rates) plus the mean cost of consumables used.
Results: Use of trastuzumab SC vs IV reduced mean chair time by 36.95 minutes and total nurse time by 6.12 minutes; there was a 20.45-minute reduction in pharmacist time when the SC formulation was used. After adding consumable costs, the overall estimated saving with trastuzumab SC vs IV was $76.94 (New Zealand dollars) per patient per cycle.
Conclusions: Compared with trastuzumab IV infusion, administration of trastuzumab via SC injection reduced time spent in the clinic and decreased HCP resources and consumables needed to administer treatment. These reductions could contribute to a decrease in health care costs and an improvement in the efficiency of HER2-positive breast cancer treatment delivery.

Keywords: breast cancer, trastuzumab, subcutaneous, resource use, cost analysis

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