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VBCR - February 2015, Volume 4, No 1 - Value Propositions

With data from the Humana commercial claims database, researchers evaluated the use and annual costs of biologic agents in the treatment of several autoimmune diseases. In addition to biologic agents commonly reported on as treatment in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and psoriasis (PsO), this analysis included recently approved biologic therapies and treatment for psoriatic arthritis (PsA) and ankylosing spondylitis (AS).

Patients eligible for the study had a diagnosis of RA, PsO, PsA, AS, or a combination of these diseases and recorded their index claim between February 1, 2008, and September 30, 2011, for abatacept, adalimumab, certolizumab pegol, etanercept, golimumab, infliximab, rituximab, or ustekinumab. Continuing patients were those who had a claim for their index therapy within 180 days prior to the study index date; those without such a claim were defined as new patients.

The study included 1308 new patients and 1413 continuing patients. The most frequently used biologic therapies were adalimumab, etanercept, and infliximab. Continuing patients had higher rates of persistence on index therapy than new patients. For new patients, the mean annual cost (standard deviation [SD]) across all disease indications was lowest for adalimumab, $20,916 [$7572]; infliximab was next, $22,516 [$8460]; and then etanercept, $23,567 [$8314]). For continuing patients, mean annual costs were etanercept, $21,508 [$6769]; infliximab, $22,852 [$11,674]; and adalimumab, $24,341 [$8906].

This analysis showed that use of new biologic agents was quite limited compared with established TNF blockers in the treatment of RA, PsO, PsA, AS, and combination conditions. The researchers concluded that data from commercial claims may help payers evaluate annual costs in a real-world setting. Howe A, et al. J Manag Care Pharm. 2014;20(12):1236-1244.

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Last modified: May 21, 2015
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