Cost effectiveness of budesonide/formoterol in a single inhaler for COPD compared with each monocomponent used alone
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Objective: To compare the healthcare costs and effects of budesonide/formoterol in a single inhaler with those of budesonide and formoterol monotherapies, and placebo, in a multinational study in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI)/WHO Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) stages III or IV. Previous analysis of the clinical data from the study had shown that budesonide/formoterol was associated with better lung function and improved health-related QOL compared with the monocomponents or placebo and lower frequency of exacerbations compared with formoterol and placebo.
Method: Patients (n = 1022) were randomised to twice-daily treatment with two inhalations of budesonide/formoterol (160μg/4.5μg) in a single inhaler, budesonide 200μg, formoterol 4.5μg or placebo for 12 months. Data on medication and healthcare use were combined with Swedish unit cost data to estimate the total annual healthcare cost per patient from the Swedish healthcare payer perspective. Costs were valued in Swedish kronor (SEK) [2001 values] and converted to euros (SEK1 = €0.11, 25th April 2003).
Results: This evaluation estimated the total annual healthcare costs per patient to be numerically lower for budesonide/formoterol (€2518) than for budesonide (€3194), formoterol (€3653) or placebo (€3213). Cost-effectiveness acceptability curves suggest that budesonide/formoterol may be cost effective compared with formoterol, even if the decision maker is not willing to pay anything for the additional clinical effects, and that budesonide/formoterol is cost effective compared with placebo if a decision maker is willing to pay about €2 per day, per avoided exacerbation.
Conclusion: This economic analysis suggests that the clinical benefits of using budesonide/formoterol in a single inhaler are achieved at a numerically lower total healthcare cost than either monocomponent or placebo. Budesonide/formoterol in patients with severe COPD (GOLD stages III or IV) may be cost effective, from the healthcare provider perspective, compared with either monocomponent.
KeywordsChronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Budesonide Formoterol Single Inhaler Symbicort
The authors wish to thank Bengt Liljas and Fredrik Andersson for considerable contribution in the writing of this manuscript. Claes-Göran Löfdahl was the medical advisor for the trial and was involved in the study design. Åsa Ericsson and Emma Andreasson are health economists who designed the study, undertook the economic analyses and produced a first outline for everyone’s review. Klas Svensson was the statistician for the study. Apart from these specific points, all authors contributed equally to and approved the final manuscript.
Åsa Ericsson, Klas Svensson and Emma Andreasson are all AstraZeneca employees. Claes-Göran Löfdahl has received lecture fees from each of the major pharmaceutical companies in the respiratory area (AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis) and has also received institutional grants from AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis.
The study was supported by a grant from AstraZeneca.
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