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J Med Econ. 2012;15 Suppl 2:14-27. doi: 10.3111/13696998.2012.713879. Epub 2012 Aug 3.

Health economic evaluation of insulin glargine vs NPH insulin in intensified conventional therapy for type 1 diabetes in Germany.

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Evangelisches BETHESDA-Krankenhaus zu Duisburg GmbH, Duisburg, Germany.



Basal insulin analogs are well established in the treatment of type 1 diabetes in Germany. However, little is known about their economic impact. The aim of this study for an adult population was to compare, from the perspective of the Statutory Health Insurance (SHI), the cost effectiveness of the long-acting insulin analog glargine (GLA) with intermediate-acting neutral protamine Hagedorn (NPH) insulin in basal bolus therapy, considering the interaction between glycemic control and the rate of hypoglycemia.


A validated discrete event simulation model was adapted to the German setting to project clinical and cost outcomes over 40 years. Resources were valued with German official prices in 2009/2010 Euros. Health-related disutilities were taken from UK sources. Patient characteristics and risk factors were partially extracted from German sources in a sensitivity analysis.


In the base-case analysis, GLA was dominant as it increased life expectancy by 0.196 years and improved quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) by 0.396 units while at the same time leading to savings of €5246 each per patient after 40 years compared to NPH. These results were robust in the sensitivity analyses. Monte Carlo simulation confirmed dominance of GLA in 70% (life-years gained) and 80% (QALYs gained) of the iterations. The price of GLA had the highest impact on savings. In extreme scenarios, incremental cost-effectiveness ratios increased up to €9576 per QALY gained. Limitations of the evaluation included no myocardial re-infarction(s) and no recurrent stroke(s), patient characteristics, risk factors, and disutilities from the UK due to scarce data in Germany, and that not all diabetes-related direct costs were included, namely insulin pens and blood glucose meters.


GLA appears to be cost effective or even cost saving among type 1 diabetics with basal bolus therapy from the perspective of SHI compared to NPH depending on the scenario chosen.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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