VELCADE based regimens are cost-effective for payers and patients, finds study

Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company today announced that two studies presented at the 51st American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting found that VELCADE based regimens are more cost-effective for payers and reduced out-of-pocket costs for patients than other commonly used multiple myeloma treatments. The study found that VELCADE-melphalan-prednisone (VMP), a commonly used treatment in multiple myeloma, was more cost-effective compared to MP and delivered more cost-savings compared to melphalan-prednisone-thalidomide (MPT), another commonly used treatment regimen, based on a health economic model.

A second study based on claims data found patients with multiple myeloma treated with VELCADE:

  • Incurred fewer out-of-pocket costs than patients treated with the oral drugs thalidomide and lenalidomide
  • Did not require significantly more healthcare visits than patients prescribed thalidomide and lenalidomide.

“These studies support VELCADE’s overall cost-effectiveness and reduced out-of-pocket costs. As measured by the number of healthcare visits, VELCADE appears to be as convenient as oral multiple myeloma treatments,” said Dixie-Lee Esseltine, M.D., Vice President, Global Medical Affairs, Millennium. “This is valuable information for healthcare providers, patients and payers.”

The Cost-Effectiveness of Bortezomib for the Initial Treatment of Multiple Myeloma in the United States (Abstract #1379)

Based on a direct comparison of patient-level data, researchers projected that VMP would be cost-effective over a patient’s lifetime compared with MP in the United States. A second indirect comparison across different trials projected the combination of VMP would cost payers 17.7 percent less over a patient’s lifetime and generate better quality-adjusted life expectancy than MPT. Quality-adjusted life years are a measure of disease burden that take into account both the length and quality of life.

The incremental cost-effectiveness of VMP versus MP was found to be within the generally accepted cost-effectiveness range of $50,000-$100,000 per quality-adjusted life year. The projected overall survival years were greatest for patients treated with VMP versus those treated with MPT or MP (4.19, 4.14, and 2.86 years, respectively).

“Cancer can be a costly disease for both payers and patients, and this is certainly true in multiple myeloma,” said Professor Lou Garrison, a study co-author and Associate Director in the Pharmaceutical Outcomes Research and Policy Program, Department of Pharmacy, University of Washington, Seattle. “It is therefore important to identify cost-effective therapies. This trial-based modeling study demonstrates that the first-line regimen using VELCADE is cost-effective compared to other commonly used regimens.”

To assess the relative costs and outcomes of different treatment combinations, study methodology generated modeling projections based on a direct comparison from the Phase III VISTA trial, which demonstrated superiority in overall survival of VMP versus MP (San Miguel et al, New England Journal of Medicine 2008) for treatment of multiple myeloma, as well as an indirect comparison of this trial with data published from the IFM 99-06 clinical trial for MPT (Facon et al, Lancet 2007). Costs included per-protocol drug and medical costs, treatment-related adverse events, second-line treatment, and resource utilization during treatment-free interval and progressive disease. Unit costs of medications were obtained from published literature.

Multiple Myeloma: Patient Out-Of-Pocket Costs and Health Care Utilization (Abstract #1366)

In the second study, researchers used data from one of the largest U.S. commercial healthcare plans to evaluate the number of healthcare visits and out-of-pocket costs for multiple myeloma patients being treated with various therapies. After adjusting for patient characteristics, line of treatment, and co-morbidities by multivariate analysis, data showed that patients receiving VELCADE did not have a significantly different number of healthcare visits than those receiving lenalidomide or thalidomide, two oral therapies. Additionally, direct out-of-pocket costs were found to be significantly lower for patients treated with VELCADE than patients treated with thalidomide or lenalidomide.

“There is a common perception that oral drugs are more convenient for patients, but these data show that, in terms of healthcare visits, that perception of convenience is false,” said study author Brett W. Pinsky, i3 Innovus researcher. “These data are consistent with the fact that patients with multiple myeloma typically require a great deal of care and resource utilization; therefore, most patients will not see a major difference in the number of healthcare visits regardless of whether their treatment is oral or infusion – but they may face a significantly higher out-of-pocket cost with oral medications.”

The total patient out-of-pocket costs for the year after treatment initiation were significantly less for patients treated with VELCADE ($3,504) than for those treated with either of the oral drugs thalidomide ($4,443, p<0.05) or lenalidomide ($4,766, p<0.05), after adjusting for patient characteristics, line of treatment, and co-morbidities by multivariate analysis. These differences were greatest for Medicare patients, with the adjusted patient costs nearly two and three times greater for thalidomide ($8,824) and lenalidomide ($12,568), respectively, compared with VELCADE ($4,395).

The study is a retrospective cohort study, which used claims data from a large national U.S. commercial health plan representing approximately 14 million members, and included a total of 2,642 treatment episodes for the 1,900 multiple myeloma patients.



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