Background: In the PURSUIT trial, eptifibatide significantly reduced the 30-day incidence of death and myocardial infarction relative to placebo in 9461 patients with an acute coronary syndrome (unstable angina or non-Q-wave myocardial infarction).
Methods and results: We conducted a 2-part prospective economic substudy of the 3522 US patients enrolled in PURSUIT: (1) an empirical intention-to-treat comparison of medical costs (hospital plus physician) up to 6 months after hospitalization and (2) a lifetime cost-effectiveness analysis. The base-case cost-effectiveness ratio was expressed as the 1996 US dollars required to add 1 life-year with eptifibatide therapy. The 2 treatment arms had equivalent resource consumption and medical costs (exclusive of the cost of the eptifibatide regimen) during the index (enrollment) hospitalization (P=0.78) and up to 6 months afterward (P=0.60). The average wholesale price of the eptifibatide regimen was $1217, but a typical hospital discounted price was $1014. The estimated life expectancy from randomization in the US patients was 15.96 years for eptifibatide and 15.85 years for placebo, an incremental difference of 0.111. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio for eptifibatide therapy in US PURSUIT patients was $16 491 per year of life saved. This result was robust through a wide range of sensitivity analyses. The cost-utility ratio for eptifibatide (using time trade-off defined utilities) was $19 693 per added quality-adjusted life-year.
Conclusions: Based on the results observed in the US PURSUIT patients, the routine addition of eptifibatide to standard care for non-ST-elevation acute coronary syndrome patients is economically attractive by conventional standards.