Cost-utility analysis of alemtuzumab in comparison with interferon beta, fingolimod, and natalizumab treatment for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis in Austria

J Med Econ. 2019 Mar;22(3):226-237. doi: 10.1080/13696998.2018.1556668. Epub 2018 Dec 21.


Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic progressive, demyelinating, inflammatory disease, affects 2.5 million people worldwide. Approximately 63% of cases are classified as relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) at the time of diagnosis. The aim of this cost-utility analysis is to evaluate alemtuzumab vs interferon beta (intramuscular [IM] interferon beta-1a, subcutaneous [SC] interferon beta-1a, SC interferon beta-1b, and SC pegylated interferon beta-1a) in previously treated, and vs SC interferon beta-1a, fingolimod, and natalizumab in untreated RRMS patients to determine the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio among the treatment alternatives as prices, the route, and the frequency of administration of considered products vary significantly.

Methods: The primary outcome was the modeled incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER; €/quality-adjusted life-year [QALY] gained). Markov modeling with a 10-year time horizon was carried out. During each 3-month cycle, patients maintained the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) score or experienced progression, developed secondary progressive MS (SPMS), or showed EDSS progression in SPMS; experienced relapses; suffered from an adverse event (AE); changed treatment; or died. A published network meta-analysis (NMA) was used for indirect comparison. The possibility of a therapy switch was considered. Clinical input data and resource utilization data were derived from the literature. Costs were extracted from price lists published in Austria and were calculated from the payer's perspective.

Results: In treatment naïve patients, alemtuzumab is associated with costs of €132,663 and 5.25 QALYs in a 10-year time horizon. Costs for SC interferon beta amount to €164,159 and generate 4.85 QALYs. Also, in the pre-treated patients, alemtuzumab dominated comparators by accumulating higher total QALYs (4.88) and lower total costs (€137.409) compared to interferon beta-1a (€200.133), fingolimod (€240.903), and natalizumab (€247.758).

Conclusion: The analysis shows that alemtuzumab is a cost-saving alternative to treat RRMS in pre-treated and therapy naïve patients. From the patient perspective, alemtuzumab improves quality-of-life.

Keywords: Cost-effectiveness; D61; I10; I18; alemtuzumab; cost-utility; multiple sclerosis.

MeSH terms

  • Alemtuzumab / administration & dosage
  • Alemtuzumab / adverse effects
  • Alemtuzumab / economics*
  • Alemtuzumab / therapeutic use*
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Disease Progression
  • Fingolimod Hydrochloride / economics
  • Fingolimod Hydrochloride / therapeutic use
  • Health Services / economics
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Status Indicators
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / administration & dosage
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / economics*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Interferon-beta / administration & dosage
  • Interferon-beta / economics
  • Interferon-beta / therapeutic use
  • Markov Chains
  • Models, Econometric
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / drug therapy*
  • Natalizumab / economics
  • Natalizumab / therapeutic use
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Natalizumab
  • Alemtuzumab
  • Interferon-beta
  • Fingolimod Hydrochloride