Cost-effectiveness of insulin degludec compared with insulin glargine for patients with type 2 diabetes treated with basal insulin – from the UK health care cost perspective


Correspondence to: Dr Marc Evans, University Hospital Llandough, Cardiff, UK. E-mail:



The aim of this analysis was to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of insulin degludec (IDeg) versus insulin glargine (IGlar) in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) who are considered appropriate for treatment with a basal insulin analogue, using a short-term economic model.


Meta-analysis data from three phase III clinical studies were used to populate a simple and transparent short-term model. The costs and effects of treatment with IDeg versus IGlar were calculated over a 12-month period. The analysis was conducted from the perspective of the UK National Health Service. Sensitivity analyses were conducted to assess the degree of uncertainty surrounding the results.


IDeg is a cost-effective treatment option versus IGlar in patients with T2DM using basal insulin. Base case incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) were estimated at £15 795 per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) and £13 078 per QALY, which are below commonly accepted thresholds for cost-effectiveness. Sensitivity analyses demonstrated that hypoglycaemia event rates had an important effect on the results. With higher event rates for non-severe hypoglycaemia IDeg was less costly and more effective than IGlar (dominant). Conversely, using lower event rates for severe hypoglycaemia generated higher ICERs. Using hypoglycaemia rates from a subgroup of patients who experienced ≥1 hypoglycaemic event per year IDeg was highly cost-effective versus IGlar; with estimated ICERS of £4887 and £2625 per QALY.


This short-term modelling approach allows the economic evaluation of newer insulin analogues when advanced long-term modelling based on HbA1c differences is inappropriate. For patients with T2DM who are considered appropriate for treatment with a basal insulin analogue, IDeg is a cost-effective treatment option compared with IGlar and offers additional benefits to subgroups of patients, such as those suffering from recurrent hypoglycaemia.