Background: The aim of this study was to project health-economic outcomes relevant to the German setting for the addition of pioglitazone to existing treatment regimens in patients with type 2 diabetes, evidence of macrovascular disease and at high risk of cardiovascular events.
Methods: Event rates corresponding to macrovascular outcomes from the Prospective Pioglitazone Clinical Trial in Macrovascular Events (PROactive) study of pioglitazone were used with a modified version of the CORE Diabetes Model to simulate outcomes over a 35-year time horizon. Direct medical costs were accounted from a healthcare payer perspective in year 2005 values. Germany specific costs were applied for patient treatment, hospitalization and management. Both costs and clinical benefits were discounted at 5.0% per annum.
Results: Over patient lifetimes pioglitazone treatment improved undiscounted life expectancy by 0.406 years and improved quality-adjusted life expectancy by 0.120 quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) compared to placebo. Direct medical costs (treatment plus complication costs) were marginally higher for pioglitazone treatment and calculation of the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) produced a value of euro13,294 per QALY gained with the pioglitazone regimen versus placebo. Acceptability curve analysis showed that there was a 78.2% likelihood that pioglitazone would be considered cost-effective in Germany, using a "good value for money" threshold of euro50,000 per QALY gained. Sensitivity analyses showed that the results were most sensitive to changes in the simulation time horizon. After adjustment for the potential stabilization of pancreatic beta-cell function with pioglitazone treatment, the ICER was euro6,667 per QALY gained for pioglitazone versus placebo.
Conclusion: The findings of this modelling analysis indicated that, for patients with a history of macrovascular disease, addition of pioglitazone to existing therapy reduces the long-term cumulative incidence of diabetes-complications at a cost that would be considered to represent good value for money in the German setting.