Objective: To evaluate costs, benefits and cost-effectiveness of anti-TNF agents in PsA patients with inadequate response to conventional treatment.
Methods: A total of 107 patients, from nine Italian rheumatology centres, with different forms of PsA were given anti-TNF treatment, mainly etanercept (87%). Information on resource use, health-related quality of life, disease activity, function and laboratory values were collected at baseline and through out the 12 months of therapy. Cost (expressed in euro 2007) and utility (measured by EuroQol) before and after anti-TNF therapy initiation were compared in order to estimate the incremental cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained, and cost-effectiveness acceptability curve was calculated.
Results: At the end of 12 months, there was a significant increase in direct cost due to an increase of drug cost caused by TNF inhibitors that was only partially offset by the decrease in indirect cost. In the last 6 months of therapy, the direct cost increased by euro5052, the cost for the National Health System (NHS) by euro5044 and the social cost by euro4638. However, a gain of 0.12 QALY resulted in a cost per QALY gained of euro40 876 for the NHS and of euro37 591 for the society. The acceptability curve showed that there would be a 97% likelihood that anti-TNF therapy would be considered cost-effective at willingness-to-pay threshold of euro60 000 per QALY gained.
Conclusion: Cost-effectiveness ratios are within the commonly accepted willingness-to-pay threshold. These results need to be confirmed in larger samples of patients.