A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Nintedanib in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis in the UK

Pharmacoeconomics. 2017 Apr;35(4):479-491. doi: 10.1007/s40273-016-0480-2.


Background: International guidelines recommend nintedanib (OFEV®) as an option for the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

Objective: The objective of this study was to assess the cost effectiveness of nintedanib versus pirfenidone, N-acetylcysteine and best supportive care (BSC) for the treatment of IPF from a UK payer's perspective.

Methods: A Markov model was designed to capture the changes in the condition of adults with IPF. Efficacy outcomes included mortality, lung function decline and acute exacerbations. Treatment safety (serious adverse events) and tolerability (overall discontinuation) were also considered. The baseline risk of these events was derived from patient-level data from the placebo arms of nintedanib clinical trials (TOMORROW, INPULSIS-1, INPULSIS-2). A network meta-analysis (NMA) was conducted to estimate the relative effectiveness of the comparator treatments. Quality of life and healthcare resource use data from the clinical trials were also incorporated in the economic model.

Results: Nintedanib showed statistically significant differences against placebo on acute exacerbation events avoided and lung function decline. In the cost-effectiveness analysis, the results were split between two treatments with relative low costs and modest effectiveness (BSC and N-acetylcysteine) and two that showed improved effectiveness (lung function) and higher costs (nintedanib and pirfenidone). All comparators were assumed to have similar projected survival and the difference in quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) was driven by the acute exacerbations and lung function estimates. In the base-case deterministic pairwise comparison with pirfenidone, nintedanib was found to have fewer acute exacerbations and resulted in less costs and more QALYs gained.

Conclusions: Compared with BSC (placebo), nintedanib and pirfenidone were the only treatments to show statistical significance in the efficacy parameters. We found substantial uncertainty in the overall cost-effectiveness results between nintedanib and pirfenidone. N-Acetylcysteine was largely similar to BSC but with a worse survival profile. INPULSIS-1 and INPULSIS-2 ClinicalTrials.gov numbers, NCT01335464 and NCT01335477.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcysteine / adverse effects
  • Acetylcysteine / economics
  • Acetylcysteine / therapeutic use*
  • Adult
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / economics
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / drug therapy*
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / economics
  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis / mortality
  • Indoles / adverse effects
  • Indoles / economics
  • Indoles / therapeutic use*
  • Markov Chains
  • Models, Economic
  • Pyridones / adverse effects
  • Pyridones / economics
  • Pyridones / therapeutic use*
  • Quality of Life
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United Kingdom


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Indoles
  • Pyridones
  • pirfenidone
  • nintedanib
  • Acetylcysteine

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01335464
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01335477
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01335464
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01335477