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Can J Ophthalmol. 2005 Jun;40(3):369-77.

Drug pricing for a novel treatment for wet macular degeneration: using incremental cost-effectiveness ratios to ensure societal value.

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Cost-Effective Ocular Health Policy Unit, Department of Ophthalmology & Community Health and Epidemiology, Queen's University, Hotel Dieu Hospital, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.



Health economic models can assist policy-makers in determining the value of novel treatments from the viewpoint of society. In this context, value is defined as the benefit of treatment, given its cost. A new treatment for wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD), juxtascleral administration of anecortave acetate, 15 mg for depot suspension (Retaane), is now in a late-phase clinical trial. In a theoretical analysis, we sought to determine the cost at which this treatment might offer economic value to society, using incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs).


A series of 1-year cost-utility models was created for the investigational treatment and standard treatment (photodynamic therapy [PDT] with verteporfin [Visudyne]). Value to society was defined in terms of theoretical associated ICERs (in US dollars): $100,000 per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY), $50,000/QALY, $20,000/QALY and $0/QALY, the point of economic indifference. Models were created from the societal perspective and included a patient-derived utility assessment involving regression equations to estimate time trade-off preferences, event probabilities derived from a randomized clinical trial comparing the safety and efficacy of anecortave administration and PDT with verteporfin, decision analysis and relevant costing information.


An ICER of $100,000/QALY would be associated with an anecortave cost of $3022/vial, an ICER of $50,000/QALY with an anecortave cost of $2986/vial and an ICER of $20,000/QALY with an anecortave cost of $2964/vial. The point of economic indifference between anecortave administration and standard therapy would occur with an anecortave cost of $2950/vial.


In theory, an anecortave cost of $2986/vial is associated with an ICER of $50,000/QALY, the threshold used by many health technology assessment and reimbursement agencies.

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