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Cost analysis of treatment of rheumatoid arthritis

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The high costs of biological treatment of rheumatoid arthritis have drawn attention to the economic appropriateness of such treatment. Commissioned by the pharmaceutical company Wyeth Denmark, COWI made a cost analysis of three biological drugs used for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
The health economic cost analysis was made by collecting data from medical records at three rheumatological hospital wards in three different regions of Denmark. The data collected covered medicine use and patient characteristics such as age, gender, body weight and previous treatment with biological drugs. In addition, COWI interviewed relevant key personnel about treatment practice.

Cost minimisation analysis

The data was used to calculate the costs of treatment for three biological drugs from a hospital perspective. The drugs were adalimumab (Humira®), etanercept (Enbrel®) and infliximab (Remciade®). Con-siderations of the effectiveness of the drugs were not included in the analysis.

Journal of the Danish Medical Association
The results of the health economic analysis were published in the Journal of the Danish Medical Association. The analysis found that the actual treatment costs for the three biological drugs tend to be equal. Consequently, the choice of treatment can be based on factors other than drug costs calculated on the basis of standard dosage. Instead, the choice should be based on considerations of treatment efficacy, safety, patient needs and treatment feasibility. 

LAST UPDATED: 02.08.2017