San Francisco, CA—Pomalidomide plus low-dose dexamethasone is “likely to be a cost-effective use of healthcare resources,” according to researchers from the United Kingdom, who presented a pharmacoeconomic analysis at ASH 2014.
Although the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) for quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) gained slightly exceeded $100,000, which is the often-cited willingness-to-pay threshold, Steve Schey, MD, of King’s College London, and colleagues suggested in their poster that “end-of-life drugs that significantly improve survival and health-related quality of life and address unmet needs can be considered to be cost-effective at a higher willingness-to-pay threshold.”
The pomalidomide plus low-dose dexamethasone regimen demonstrated a significant overall survival benefit versus high-dose dexamethasone in the pivotal phase 3 MM-003 study, when adjusted for crossover (12.7 vs 5.7 months, respectively; P <.001).
The investigators explored the cost effectiveness of the pomalidomide/dexamethasone regimen versus current care from UK and Irish healthcare payer perspectives.
Current care included in the economic model consisted of retreatment with bortezomib (intravenous or subcutaneous), bortezomib in combination with lenalidomide, and bendamustine regimens. The costs and outcomes were modeled to estimate the cost per life-year and cost per QALY gained over a lifetime horizon (25 years).
The efficacy data were obtained from a systemic review of the regimen in patients who had previously been treated with bortezomib and lenalidomide. Three studies relevant to question of pomalidomide/dexamethasone versus current practice were included in the analysis. The economic evaluation included the cost of treatment, administration, monitoring, tests, the management of adverse events, blood transfusions, concomitant medication, and terminal care. The medical costs were presented in US dollars.
Survival and Quality of Life
The model predicted that patients who receive pomalidomide/dexamethasone live for a mean of 2.2 years compared with 1.2 years with current care; the QALYs were 1.3 versus 0.7, respectively, representing an additional 0.6 QALYs. In the base-case analysis, pomalidomide/dexamethasone was associated with a total incremental cost of $59,250 per patient over a lifetime horizon compared with current care.
The model predicted an ICER of $100,920 per QALY compared with current care. The probabilistic ICER obtained through 1000 probabilistic model runs was consistent, at $101,947 per QALY, Dr Schey reported. —KS