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Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2012 Feb;91(2):281-8. doi: 10.1038/clpt.2011.224. Epub 2011 Dec 28.

The cost-effectiveness of drug regulation: the example of thorough QT/QTc studies.

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Institute for Medical Technology Assessment, Faculty of Health, Policy and Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


We analyzed the cost-effectiveness of the International Conference on Harmonisation (ICH) E14 guideline that requires a thorough QT/QTc (TQT) study for all drugs under development. We compared two pharmacoeconomic scenarios: the health effects and costs resulting from implementing ICH E14 ("regulation" scenario) vs. not implementing ICH E14 ("no regulation" scenario). We used a dynamic population model to calculate the cost-effectiveness of ICH E14 for a prototype QT-prolonging antipsychotic drug entering the US and European markets. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratios of regulation vs. no regulation were ~€2.4 million per sudden cardiac death prevented and ~€187,000 per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained in users of antipsychotic drugs. The main driver of cost was the requirement for electrocardiogram (ECG) monitoring of users of QTc-prolonging drugs. Even when several of the assumptions in the model were varied, there were no results in favor of regulation. Our study shows that cost-effectiveness analysis of drug regulatory measures is feasible and should be considered before developing such measures.

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