The Cost-effectiveness of Weekly Epoetin Alfa Relative to Weekly Darbepoetin Alfa in Patients with Chemotherapy-induced Anemia
The study compared published results of two double-blind, randomized, phase III trials one utilizing EPO (N = 166) and the other, DARB (N = 367). Patients in both trials similar baseline characteristics. Effectiveness was measured as the proportion of EPO or DARB patients who were successfully treated (i.e., did not require blood transfusion) during weeks 0-16 and 5-16, respectively. Estimated drug costs were presented in 2005 USD based on wholesale acquisition cost (WAC) and average drug utilization over 16 weeks. Cost-effectiveness was calculated as the estimated drug costs divided by transfusion effectiveness. Threshold analysis was used to determine the break-even point at which EPO and DARB had the same drug costs.
Estimated drug costs over 16 weeks were $9,039 for EPO and $13,555 for DARB. During weeks 5-16, 85% of EPO patients and 73% of DARB patients were successfully treated, resulting in average cost-effectiveness ratios of $106 for EPO and $186 for DARB per one per cent of successfully treated patients. A 33% reduction in DARB WAC was required to achieve the same drug costs as for EPO.
Utilizing FDA-approved doses, EPO was found to result in lower drug costs and better treatment success when compared to DARB. Hence, EPO is a dominant alternative compared to DARB for the treatment of CIA. The analyses presented here are not without limitations. Specifically, although the studies were comparable, patients were ultimately drawn from different populations.