Osteoporosis International

, Volume 18, Issue 8, pp 1047–1061

Cost-effectiveness of alendronate in the treatment of postmenopausal women in 9 European countries - an economic evaluation based on the fracture intervention trial

  • O. Ström
  • F. Borgström
  • S. S. Sen
  • S. Boonen
  • P. Haentjens
  • O. Johnell
  • J. A. Kanis
Original Article



Treatment with alendronate (Fosamax®) has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of fragility fractures. Cost-effectiveness of treatment was assessed in nine European countries in a Markov model and was generally found to be cost effective in women with a previous spine fracture.


Treatment with alendronate (Fosamax®) reduces the risk of osteoporotic fractures at the spine, hip and wrist in women with and without prevalent vertebral fracture. Cost-effectiveness estimates in one country may not be applicable elsewhere due to differences in fracture risks, costs and drug prices. The aim of this study was to assess the cost-effectiveness of treating postmenopausal women with alendronate in nine European countries, comprising Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.


A Markov model was populated with data for the nine European populations. Effect of treatment was taken from the Fracture Intervention Trial, which recruited women with low BMD alone or with a prior vertebral fracture.


The cost per QALY gained of treating postmenopausal women with prior vertebral fractures ranged in the base case from “cost saving” in the Scandinavian countries to €15,000 in Italy. Corresponding estimates for women without prior vertebral fractures ranged from “cost saving” to €40,000.


In relation to thresholds generally used, the analysis suggests that alendronate is very cost effective in the treatment of women with previous vertebral fracture, and in women without previous vertebral fracture, cost-effectiveness depends on the country setting, discount rates, and chosen monetary thresholds.


Alendronate Bisphosphonates Cost Europe Fracture Osteoporosis 


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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • O. Ström
    • 1
  • F. Borgström
    • 1
    • 2
  • S. S. Sen
    • 3
  • S. Boonen
    • 4
  • P. Haentjens
    • 5
  • O. Johnell
    • 6
  • J. A. Kanis
    • 7
  1. 1.European Health EconomicsStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Medical Management CentreKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Outcomes Research, Merck & Co., IncWhitehouse StationUSA
  4. 4.Leuven University Center for Metabolic Bone Diseases and Division of Geriatric MedicineKatholieke Universiteit LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  5. 5.Department of Orthopaedics and TraumatologyAcademisch Ziekenhuis van de Vrije Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium
  6. 6.Department of OrthopaedicsMalmö General HospitalMalmöSweden
  7. 7.Centre for Metabolic Bone Diseases (WHO Collaborating Centre)University of Sheffield Medical SchoolSheffieldUK

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