Background: Treatment efficacy and costs of anti-VEGF drugs have not been studied in clinical routine.
Objective: To compare treatment costs and clinical outcomes of the medications when adjusting for patients' characteristics and clinical status.
Design: Comparative study.
Setting: The largest public ophthalmologic clinic in Switzerland.
Patients: Health care claims data of patients with age-related macular degeneration, diabetic macula edema and retinal vein occlusion were matched to clinical and outcome data.
Measurements: Patients' underlying condition, gender, age, visual acuity and retinal thickness at baseline and after completing the loading phase, the total number of injections per treatment, the visual outcome and vital status was secured.
Results: We included 315 patients (19595 claims) with a follow-up time of 1 to 99 months (mean 32.7, SD 25.8) covering the years 2006-2014. Mean age was 78 years (SD 9.3) and 200 (63.5%) were female. At baseline, the mean number of letters was 55.6 (SD 16.3) and the central retinal thickness was 400.1 μm (SD 110.1). Patients received a mean number of 15.1 injections (SD 13.7; range 1 to 85). Compared to AMD, adjusted cost per month were significantly higher (+2174.88 CHF, 95%CI: 1094.50-3255.27; p<0.001) for patients with DME, while cost per month for RVO were slightly but not significantly higher. (+284.71 CHF, 95% CI: -866.73-1436.15; p = 0.627).
Conclusions: Patients with DME are almost twice as expensive as AMD and RVO patients. Cost excess occurs with non-ophthalmologic interventions. The currently licensed anti-VEGF medications did not differ in costs, injection frequency and clinical outcomes. Linking health care claims to clinical data is a useful tool to examine routine clinical care.