Choices of Methodology in Pharmacoeconomic Studies

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Abstract

Objectives.

The goal of this paper is to evaluate the comparative value of economic methodologies in assessing the benefit of a new cytoprotective agent (amifostine) delivered before cisplatin/cyclophosphamide in the treatment of ovarian cancer.

Background.

Data from a randomized controlled multinational multicenter ovarian cancer trial were used as the basis for a retrospective pharmacoeconomic analysis. Trial results demonstrated amifostine had no significant effect on oncolytic efficacy, but side effect profiles improved for febrile neutropenia (absolute risk reduction [ARR] 11%), neurotoxicity (ARR 11%), and nephrotoxicity (ARR 26%). Although, the methodology most commonly used in this type of analysis is cost utility (CU), we investigated a "willingness to pay" (WTP) approach.

Research Design Subjects.

Four pharmacy managers were given an informal telephone interview to assess their preferences. Two managers understood, and preferred, the CU data. The others, who had no education or training on CU principles, preferred WTP data. All managers understood the outputs from WTP studies.

Results/Measures.

WTP for reductions in febrile neutropenia, neurotoxicity, and nephrotoxicity were collected from 50 healthy volunteers and measured against the cost of delivering the new therapy. Results revealed WTP values of $141 per year for reductions in febrile neutropenia, $86 per year for reductions in neurotoxicity, and $71 per year for reductions in nephrotoxicity. The base case analysis showed that amifostine was cost neutral ($350 net cost, CI = −850 to +1551).

Conclusions.

The results were well-received by decision-makers. This manager survey illustrates that the methodologic choice should be determined not only by the nature of the comparison, but also by the stakeholder the data is meant to influence.

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