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Am J Med. 2002 Oct 1;113(5):400-8.

Estimating the cost-effectiveness of 54 weeks of infliximab for rheumatoid arthritis.

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Division of Clinical Decision Making, Department of Medicine, Tupper Research Institute, Tufts-New England Medical Center, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts 02111, USA.



To estimate the cost-effectiveness of infliximab plus methotrexate for active, refractory rheumatoid arthritis.


We projected the 54-week results from a randomized controlled trial of infliximab into lifetime economic and clinical outcomes using a Markov computer simulation model. Direct and indirect costs, quality of life, and disability estimates were based on trial results; Arthritis, Rheumatism, and Aging Medical Information System (ARAMIS) database outcomes; and published data. Results were discounted using the standard 3% rate. Because most well-accepted medical therapies have cost-effectiveness ratios below $50,000 to $100,000 per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained, results below this range were considered to be "cost-effective."


At 3 mg/kg, each infliximab infusion would cost $1393. When compared with methotrexate alone, 54 weeks of infliximab plus methotrexate decreased the likelihood of having advanced disability from 23% to 11% at the end of 54 weeks, which projected to a lifetime marginal cost-effectiveness ratio of $30,500 per discounted QALY gained, considering only direct medical costs. When applying a societal perspective and including indirect or productivity costs, the marginal cost-effectiveness ratio for infliximab was $9100 per discounted QALY gained. The results remained relatively unchanged with variation of model estimates over a broad range of values.


Infliximab plus methotrexate for 54 weeks for rheumatoid arthritis should be cost-effective with its clinical benefit providing good value for the drug cost, especially when including productivity losses. Although infliximab beyond 54 weeks will likely be cost-effective, the economic and clinical benefit remains uncertain and will depend on long-term results of clinical trials.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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