Purpose: Based on the data of clinical trial CHI-F-02 comparing the efficacy and safety of basiliximab (Simulect) vs. anti-thymocyte globulin (Thymoglobulin) in renal transplant induction, we carried out an economic evaluation.
Method: This pharmacoeconomic study was a cost-minimization study, i.e. given the equivalent efficacy of the products, the strategy that minimized the cost of care was considered better. The cost of care was analyzed from the hospital perspective.
Material: This 'piggyback' study of 100 patients estimated the direct medical costs incurred over 6 months of use of two strategies for renal transplant induction therapy. Direct medical costs are those of utilized medical resources: medications, hospital stays, dialysis, and physician visits and investigations not scheduled in the protocol.
Results: In the Simulect arm, significant reductions were found in the initial hospital stay duration and number of infectious episodes. Therefore, although the average cost of treatment was slightly higher with Simulect) than with Thymoglobulin (2964 vs. 2298 Euros), the cost of the initial hospitalization was significantly lower in the Simulect arm (10 907 vs. 11 967 Euros; p = 0.02). Furthermore the mean cost of infectious episodes was significantly lower in the Simulect arm (1056 vs. 1790 Euros, p = 0.03). Cytomegalovirus infection accounted for a significantly smaller proportion of this cost in the Simulect arm than in the Thymoglobulin arm (30% vs. 53%, p = 0.001).
Conclusion: This study showed direct medical cost savings of 1159 Euros per patient in the Simulect arm, which more than compensated for the higher price of this immunosuppressive drug.