Cost Effectiveness of Palivizumab for Respiratory Syncytial Virus Prophylaxis in High-Risk Children

A UK Analysis

Abstract

Objective

To assess the cost effectiveness of palivizumab (a preventative treatment against severe respiratory syncytial virus [RSV] infection) in children at high risk of hospitalisation, i.e. preterm infants ≤35 weeks gestation, children with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) and children with congenital heart disease (CHD).

Methods

A decision tree model was developed employing data sources from the published literature, palivizumab clinical trials, official UK price/tariff lists and national population statistics. The comparator was no prophylaxis. The primary perspective of the study was that of the UK NHS. In a societal perspective scenario analysis, the future lost productivity of a child resulting from RSV-related mortality (indirect costs) was also included. The cost of administration of palivizumab, hospital care for RSV infections and the cost of asthma treatment were included.

The analysis was based on a lifetime follow-up period in order to capture the impact of palivizumab on long-term morbidity and mortality resulting from an RSV infection. The primary efficacy outcome in the palivizumab clinical trials was the number of RSV hospitalisations avoided, which was extrapolated to effectiveness outcomes, i.e. number of life-years gained and number of QALYs. Costs and effects were discounted by 3.5%.

Results

In preterm infants and children with BPD, prophylaxis with palivizumab compared with no prophylaxis had an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of £7042/QALY without discounting outcomes, increasing to £16 720/QALY after discounting. In babies with CHD, the use of palivizumab resulted in an ICER of £2427/QALY without discounting outcomes and £6664/QALY after discounting. One-way sensitivity analyses and probabilistic sensitivity analyses confirmed the robustness of the model. A scenario analysis showed that the inclusion of indirect costs leads to further improvement in the cost-effectiveness outcomes for palivizumab.

Conclusion

This study suggests that palivizumab prophylaxis against severe RSV infection in children at high risk may be cost effective from the NHS perspective (vs no prophylaxis), and that the positive clinical and economic benefits may persist beyond one RSV season.

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Acknowledgements

This study was funded by Abbott GmbH &Co. KG, Ludwigshafen, Germany. The authors are grateful to Prof. Adrian Bagust, Economics Division, University of Liverpool, UK, for his support and input in the development of this study. MEDTAP received funding from Abbott GmbH &Co. KG, Ludwigshafen, Germany for the development of the model and writing of the manuscript. Wolfgang Wittenberg is an employee of Abbot GmbH and owns stock in the company. Maximilian Lebmeier was a contractor for Abbott Germany. All the authors contributed significantly to the intellectual content of the paper.

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Correspondence to Dr Mark J. C. Nuijten.

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Nuijten, M.J.C., Wittenberg, W. & Lebmeier, M. Cost Effectiveness of Palivizumab for Respiratory Syncytial Virus Prophylaxis in High-Risk Children. Pharmacoeconomics 25, 55–71 (2007). https://doi.org/10.2165/00019053-200725010-00006

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Keywords

  • Congenital Heart Disease
  • Preterm Infant
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus
  • Scenario Analysis
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection