, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 279–293 | Cite as

Cost Effectiveness of Respiratory Syncytial Virus Prophylaxis

A Critical and Systematic Review
  • William A. PrescottJrEmail author
  • Fred Doloresco
  • Jack Brown
  • Joseph A. Paladino
Review Article


Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is the leading cause of infant hospitalization in the US. The economic burden of severe disease is substantial, including hospitalization costs and out-of-pocket expenses. RSV prophylaxis with either RSV immune globulin intravenous (RSV-IGIV) or palivizumab has been shown to be effective in reducing RSV-related hospitalizations. Motavizumab, a new enhanced-potency humanized RSV monoclonal antibody, is presently in clinical trials. RSV-IGIV and palivizumab are associated with high acquisition costs. Cost-effectiveness analyses are therefore of great importance in helping to determine who should receive RSV prophylaxis. Six studies have analysed the cost effectiveness of RSV-IGIV, 14 have analysed the cost effectiveness of palivizumab and five have analysed the cost effectiveness of both agents, two of which directly compared palivizumab with RSV-IGIV. The cost effectiveness of motavizumab has not been studied.

Significant variation exists in the modelling used in these analyses. Many studies have examined short-term benefits such as reducing hospitalizations and associated costs, while fewer studies have examined long-term benefits such as QALYs or life-years gained. The payer and society have been the most common perspectives used. The endpoints examined varied and generally did not account for the potential impact of RSV prophylaxis on RSV-related complications such as asthma. While some studies have reported acceptable cost-effectiveness ratios for RSV prophylaxis, the majority failed to show cost savings or cost-effectiveness ratios below commonly accepted thresholds for either RSV-IGIV or palivizumab. Cost effectiveness of RSV prophylaxis tended to be more favourable in populations with specific risk factors, including premature infants ≤32 weeks’ gestational age, and infants or children aged <2 years with chronic lung disease or congenital heart disease.

Comparing the results of economic analyses of the two agents suggests palivizumab may be the more cost-effective option in the population for which RSV prophylaxis is recommended. Over time, the acquisition cost of RSV prophylaxis agents, a major cost driver, may decrease, and more acceptable outcomes of economic analyses may result. Albeit important, the results of economic analyses are not the only tool that decision makers rely on, as population-specific risk factors, and efficacy and safety data must be considered when developing treatment guidelines and making clinical decisions.


Congenital Heart Disease Premature Infant Respiratory Syncytial Virus Chronic Lung Disease Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this review. The authors have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this review.


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Copyright information

© Adis Data Information BV 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • William A. PrescottJr
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Fred Doloresco
    • 1
    • 3
  • Jack Brown
    • 1
    • 3
  • Joseph A. Paladino
    • 1
  1. 1.University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical SciencesBuffaloUSA
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsUniversity at Buffalo School of MedicineBuffaloUSA
  3. 3.University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health ProfessionsBuffaloUSA

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