The Cost-effectiveness of Sequences of Biological Disease-modifying Antirheumatic Drug Treatment in England for Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis Who Can Tolerate Methotrexate
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Objective To ascertain whether strategies of treatment with a biological disease-modifying antirheumatic drug (bDMARD) are cost-effective in an English setting. Results are presented for those patients with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and those with severe RA.
Methods An economic model to assess the cost-effectiveness of 7 bDMARD was developed. A systematic literature review and network metaanalysis was undertaken to establish relative clinical effectiveness. The results were used to populate the model, together with estimates of Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) score following European League Against Rheumatism response; annual costs, and utility, per HAQ band; trajectory of HAQ for patients taking bDMARD; and trajectory of HAQ for patients using nonbiologic therapy (NBT). Results were presented as those associated with the strategy with the median cost-effectiveness. Supplementary analyses were undertaken assessing the change in cost-effectiveness when only patients with the most severe prognoses taking NBT were provided with bDMARD treatment. The costs per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) values were compared with reported thresholds from the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence of £20,000 to £30,000 (US$24,700 to US$37,000).
Results In the primary analyses, the cost per QALY of a bDMARD strategy was £41,600 for patients with severe RA and £51,100 for those with moderate to severe RA. Under the supplementary analyses, the cost per QALY fell to £25,300 for those with severe RA and to £28,500 for those with moderate to severe RA.
Conclusion The cost-effectiveness of bDMARD in RA in England is questionable and only meets current accepted levels in subsets of patients with the worst prognoses.