Research: Cost effectiveness of Early Treatment

EpubCaloyeras et al. Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Interferon Beta-1b for the Treatment of Patients With a First Clinical . Event Suggestive of Multiple Sclerosis. Clin Ther. 2012 Apr 26.

OBJECTIVES: To assess, from a Swedish societal perspective, the cost effectiveness of interferon β-1b (IFNB-1b) after an initial clinical event suggestive of multiple sclerosis (MS) (ie, early treatment) compared with treatment after onset of clinically definite MS (CDMS) (ie, delayed treatment).

METHODS: A Markov model (clever statistics using gaming theory) was developed, using MSer level data from the BENEFIT trial (CIS study of 
 and published literature, to estimate health outcomes and costs associated with IFNB-1b for hypothetical cohorts of MSers after an initial clinical event suggestive of MS (CIS). Health states were defined by Kurtzke Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) scores. Model outcomes included quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), total costs (including both direct and indirect costs), and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios. Sensitivity analyses were performed on key model parameters to assess the robustness of model results. 

A sensitivity analysis using different conditions to assess the model; for example best and worst case scenarios. 

RESULTS: In the base case scenario, early IFNB-1b treatment was economically dominant (ie, less costly and more effective) versus delayed IFNB-1b treatment when QALYs were used as the effectiveness metric. Sensitivity analyses showed that the cost-effectiveness results were sensitive to model time horizon. Compared with the delayed treatment strategy, early treatment of MS was also associated with delayed EDSS progressions, prolonged time to CDMS diagnosis, and a reduction in frequency of relapse.

CONCLUSION: Early treatment with IFNB-1b for a first clinical event suggestive of MS was found to improve patient outcomes while controlling costs

“I suspect that the new generation DMTs, that are more effective than IFNB-1b, are going to push these lines even further to the right, i.e. have a greater impact on survival. There is little doubt in my mind that early, aggressive, treatment is the answer. Data from this model supports it. This strategy has cost saving benefits in relation to healthcare and social needs in the long-term. Importantly, NICE do not include the latter in their models. Keeping MSers employed, married and without the need for carers is not of interest to NICE; all they are concerned about is how much it costs to the NHS (direct costs). Social care costs do not register on the NHS’s bottom line. I can imagine a very effective drug, for example Alemtuzumab, that may be very expensive up front not getting the green light from NICE because the direct costs are too high. Another problem we also have to face is that the risks associated with these more effective treatments are considered by many to be too great to use them early. These risk-averse individuals are keen to wait for MSers to have  more active disease before escalating their treatment. The problem with the latter strategy is that as you wait for your disease to become more active the ongoing damage caused may be irreversible. Please remember  irreversible damage does not have to relate to physical disability, but as we have said many times before on this blog it could be cognitive.”

“MSers need to join us and start lobbying NICE to change their approach to assessing the cost-effectiveness of MS DMTs; they need to take indirect costs into account. We also have to lobby NICE and the Department of Health to allow us the option of using DMTs as early as possible in the course of the disease. Please note I use the term option; not all MSers or neurologists will necessarily take up this option. Unfortunately, at the moment we don’t have an option.”

“What do you think?”

CoI: Multiple

2 thoughts on “Research: Cost effectiveness of Early Treatment”

  1. Here’s the thing professor: as a PPMSer, the early and aggressive treatments you’ve outlined in this post will be about as useful to my fellow progressive sufferers and me as a packet of Starbursts. However, I marvel that those currently living with RRMS are being deprived quality drugs over cost grounds. RRMSers may have a disease course that comes and goes, but you know as well as I do that even in RRMS there is a progressive undertone that erodes silently at first, but becomes more pronounced in later years. The likelihood is that the vast majority of RRMSers will develop an insidious progression in the coming years, and once that happens, there will be no coming back.Therefore, one would have thought that RRMSers may have potential grounds to file lawsuits against the Government for withholding treatments that may have curtailed the progressive damage caused by MS. despite a cohort of scientists and neurologists advocated the need for early and aggressive treatment, the Government remains blasé on the topic. We are aware that premature treatment works and there is now data to support this. I will argue that the threat of later legal action may spur a change NICE’s approach to funding MS drugs for neophyte sufferers.Furthermore, there is an added worry that the imminent potential treatments for progressive MS may be squandered by inept Governmental management and health care bureaucratic reluctance. Progressive MS is one of the biggest health care oversights in modern age. It costs fortunes and places sufferers in great difficulty. The current thinking is that there will be treatments for progressive MS in the next four to five years but there is certainly no guarantee that sufferers will get these drugs from the NHS within a feasible time period.

  2. one would have thought that RRMSers may have potential grounds to file lawsuits against the Government for withholding treatments.I'm not sure how ths would happen, However before any drug gains a license and NICE approved there is a process that must occur and this is slow.In terms of DMT there are four licenced for use in MS, all are available….with the proviso that there are restrictions on prescription.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: