Ferric gluconate treatment provides cost savings in patients with high ferritin and low transferrin saturation

Kidney Int. 2008 Dec;74(12):1588-95. doi: 10.1038/ki.2008.489. Epub 2008 Oct 1.


A subgroup of hemodialysis patients experience high serum ferritin and low tansferrin saturation for reasons not clearly understood. Here we determined the economic impact of administering sodium ferric gluconate complex to patients with serum ferritin levels higher than 500 ng/ml and a transferrin saturation less than 25% based on the Dialysis Patients Response to IV Iron with Elevated Ferritin (DRIVE) study and its extension, DRIVE II. A cost effectiveness model was developed, consistent with the DRIVE studies, using decision analysis with a 12-week time horizon. The primary effectiveness measure was the mean hemoglobin increase in the intent to treat patient groups comparing epoetin with or without sodium ferric gluconate complex. Costs were computed using projected 2007 US Medicare reimbursements for the treatments and for serious adverse events, with the effectiveness factored by the increase in hemoglobin. The net savings for sodium ferric gluconate complex plus epoetin treatment was $1390 compared to epoetin alone for each g/dl hemoglobin increase over 12 weeks of study. Sensitivity analyses were performed to test the impact of change in the variables (using medians or means and actual 2005 or projected 2007 Medicare reimbursements) and these affirmed the robustness of the model. Our study shows that treatment of patients with high ferritin and low transferrin saturation levels, as defined in DRIVE, with sodium ferric gluconate complex and epoetin resulted in significant savings compared to epoetin alone.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Algorithms
  • Anemia / drug therapy*
  • Anemia / economics*
  • Cost Savings*
  • Drug Costs
  • Epoetin Alfa
  • Erythropoietin
  • Ferric Compounds / economics*
  • Ferric Compounds / therapeutic use
  • Ferritins / blood*
  • Hematinics / economics
  • Hematinics / therapeutic use
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / complications
  • Kidney Diseases / therapy
  • Medicare
  • Middle Aged
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Renal Dialysis
  • United States


  • Ferric Compounds
  • Hematinics
  • Hemoglobins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Erythropoietin
  • Epoetin Alfa
  • Ferritins
  • ferric gluconate