A cost-effectiveness analysis of three treatments for age-related macular degeneration

Retina. 2010 Feb;30(2):212-21. doi: 10.1097/IAE.0b013e3181babd8e.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the cost effectiveness of pegaptanib sodium and ranibizumab injections compared with photodynamic therapy (PDT) with verteporfin for the treatment of choroidal neovascularization secondary to age-related macular degeneration.

Methods: The analyses were performed using outcomes data from the pivotal trials for each treatment and the medicare reimbursable costs for each treatment and associated medical procedures. A multistate transition model with 3-month cycles was created to compare incremental medical costs associated with pegaptanib or ranibizumab versus PDT for patients with starting vision of 20/40, 20/80, and 20/200 Snellen equivalent.

Results: Two-year medical treatment costs ranged from $3,100 to $54,100 depending on treatment and lesion type. Photodynamic therapy was less costly and more effective than pegaptanib for predominantly classic and minimally classic lesions. Ranibizumab was not only more effective but also more costly than PDT for all lesion types.

Conclusion: Compared with PDT, pegaptanib is inferior in both cost and effectiveness, whereas ranibizumab has a greater effectiveness. Because ranibizumab does not meet 1 of the common thresholds for being considered cost effective (<$50,000 per quality-adjusted life year), there is rationale to seek other therapies that are more cost effective.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / economics*
  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / economics*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Aptamers, Nucleotide / economics*
  • Aptamers, Nucleotide / therapeutic use
  • Choroidal Neovascularization / drug therapy
  • Choroidal Neovascularization / economics*
  • Choroidal Neovascularization / etiology
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Drug Costs
  • Health Care Costs
  • Humans
  • Injections
  • Macular Degeneration / complications
  • Macular Degeneration / drug therapy
  • Macular Degeneration / economics*
  • Models, Economic
  • Photochemotherapy / economics*
  • Photosensitizing Agents / economics*
  • Photosensitizing Agents / therapeutic use
  • Porphyrins / economics
  • Porphyrins / therapeutic use
  • Quality of Life
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Ranibizumab
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Verteporfin
  • Visual Acuity / physiology
  • Vitreous Body


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Aptamers, Nucleotide
  • Photosensitizing Agents
  • Porphyrins
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Verteporfin
  • pegaptanib
  • Ranibizumab