Cost-effectiveness of oral semaglutide added to current antihyperglycemic treatment for type 2 diabetes

J Manag Care Spec Pharm. 2021 Apr;27(4):455-468. doi: 10.18553/jmcp.2021.27.4.455.


BACKGROUND: Oral semaglutide is the first oral formulation of a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist to be approved in the United States for glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). While oral semaglutide is not indicated for reduction of cardiovascular event risk, its label does include evidence of no increase in cardiovascular risk in people who received oral semaglutide. OBJECTIVE: To estimate the incremental value of oral semaglutide added to existing antihyperglycemic treatment for people with T2DM with additional risk for cardiovascular disease. METHODS: We estimated the lifetime cost-effectiveness of oral semaglutide added to current antihyperglycemic treatment for T2DM using a microsimulation model based primarily on the UK Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS) Outcomes Model 2 (OM2) equations. Oral semaglutide added to current antihyperglycemic treatment was separately compared with (a) ongoing background antihyperglycemic treatment, (b) sitagliptin, (c) empagliflozin, and (d) liraglutide. Comparators sitagliptin, empagliflozin, and liraglutide were added to ongoing antihyperglycemic treatment. We applied hazard ratios derived from a network meta-analysis for cardiovascular and renal outcomes to the UKPDS OM2 estimated baseline rates. Health state utilities and costs were derived from the published literature. We estimated total costs, life-years (LYs), quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), clinical events, and cost per major adverse cardiovascular event (MACE) avoided, over a lifetime time horizon using discount rates of 3% for costs and outcomes. RESULTS: The lifetime total cost for people treated with oral semaglutide was $311,300, with costs for the other comparators ranging from $262,800 (background treatment alone) to $287,800 (liraglutide). Oral semaglutide resulted in the fewest MACE, including the fewest cardiovascular deaths. Among the 5 modeled treatment strategies, oral semaglutide had the highest LYs gained (8.43 vs. 7.76 [background treatment alone] to 8.29 [empagliflozin and liraglutide]) and the highest QALYs gained (4.11 vs. 3.70 [background treatment alone] to 4.03 [empagliflozin]). Oral semaglutide would likely be considered cost-effective compared with liraglutide (incremental cost-effectiveness ratio [ICER] = $40,100), and moderately cost-effective versus background treatment alone ([ICER] = $117,500/QALY) and sitagliptin (ICER = $145,200/QALY). The ICER for oral semaglutide compared with empagliflozin was approximately $458,400 per QALY. CONCLUSIONS: As modeled, oral semaglutide as an add-on therapy to background antihyperglycemic treatment produced incremental benefits in MACE avoided, along with greater QALYs compared with background antihyperglycemic treatment alone. Oral semaglutide use resulted in better outcomes than background treatment alone or sitagliptin, and similar outcomes to liraglutide or empagliflozin with overlapping 95% confidence ranges for QALYs. Oral semaglutide was estimated to be cost-effective compared with liraglutide and to have incremental cost-effectiveness ratios between $100,000 and $150,000 per QALY versus sitagliptin and background therapy alone, but it did not meet these thresholds compared with empagliflozin. DISCLOSURES: Funding for this study was provided by the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, an independent organization that evaluates the evidence on the value of health care interventions. ICER reports grants from Laura and John Arnold Foundation, California Health Care Foundation, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan. ICER's annual policy summit is supported by dues from AbbVie, Aetna, America's Health Insurance Plans, Anthem, Alnylam, AstraZeneca, Biogen, Blue Shield of CA, Cambia Health Services, CVS, Editas, Evolve Pharmacy, Express Scripts, Genentech/Roche, GlaxoSmithKline, Harvard Pilgrim, Health Care Service Corporation, Health Partners, Humana, Johnson & Johnson (Janssen), Kaiser Permanente, LEO Pharma, Mallinckrodt, Merck, Novartis, National Pharmaceutical Council, Premera, Prime Therapeutics, Regeneron, Sanofi, Spark Therapeutics, uniQure, and United Healthcare. Rind, Fazioli, Chapman, and Pearson are employed by ICER. Guzauskas and Hansen have nothing to disclose. Study results were presented at the New England Comparative Effectiveness Public Advisory Council (New England CEPAC), November 14, 2019, at Brown University, Providence, RI.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Glucagon-Like Peptides / administration & dosage
  • Glucagon-Like Peptides / economics
  • Glucagon-Like Peptides / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / economics
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Economic
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • United States
  • Young Adult


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • semaglutide
  • Glucagon-Like Peptides