Cost-effectiveness of nirsevimab and palivizumab for respiratory syncytial virus prophylaxis in preterm infants 29-34 6/7 weeks' gestation in the United States

Pediatr Neonatol. 2024 Mar;65(2):152-158. doi: 10.1016/j.pedneo.2023.04.015. Epub 2023 Sep 11.


Background: Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) hospitalizations have increased since the 2014 guideline update recommended against the use of palivizumab for preterm infants born ≥29 0/7 weeks' gestational age (GA) without additional risk factors. A novel drug candidate, nirsevimab, has been developed for this population. We analyzed the cost-effectiveness of palivizumab/nirsevimab vs. no prophylaxis in this population.

Methods: A hybrid-Markov model predicted the RSV clinical course in the first year of life and sequelae in the subsequent four years for preterm infants from the healthcare and societal perspectives. Model parameters were derived from the literature. We calculated costs and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) to produce an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) evaluated at a willingness-to-pay threshold of $150,000/QALY. Sensitivity analyses assessed model robustness. A threshold analysis examined nirsevimab pricing uncertainty.

Results: Compared to no prophylaxis, palivizumab costs $9572 and $9584 more from the healthcare and societal perspectives, respectively, with 0.0019 QALYs gained per patient over five years, resulting in ICERs >$5 million per QALY from each perspective. Results were robust to parameter uncertainties; probabilistic sensitivity analysis revealed that no prophylaxis had a 100% probability of being cost-effective. The threshold analysis suggested that nirsevimab is not cost-effective when compared to no prophylaxis if the price exceeds $1962 from a societal perspective.

Conclusion: Palivizumab is dominated by no prophylaxis for preterm infants 29 0/7-34 6/7 weeks' GA with no additional risk factors. Relevant stakeholders should consider alternatives to palivizumab for this population that are both effective and economical.

Keywords: Cost-effectiveness analysis; Palivizumab; Premature birth; Respiratory syncytial viruses.

MeSH terms

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized*
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature*
  • Palivizumab / therapeutic use
  • Pregnancy
  • Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections* / prevention & control
  • Respiratory Syncytial Viruses
  • United States


  • Palivizumab
  • nirsevimab
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized