Diabet. Med. 29, 303–312 (2012)
Aims To estimate short-term cost-effectiveness of insulin detemir vs. NPH insulin based on the incidence of mild hypoglycaemia in subjects with Type 1 diabetes in Denmark, Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands.
Methods A model was developed to evaluate cost-effectiveness based on mild (self-treated) hypoglycaemia and pharmacy costs over 1 year. Published rates of mild hypoglycaemia were used for NPH insulin and insulin detemir. Effectiveness was calculated in terms of quality-adjusted life expectancy. Pharmacy costs were accounted using published prices and defined daily doses for both insulins. Costs were expressed in 2010 euros (€).
Results Treatment with insulin detemir was associated with fewer mild hypoglycaemic events than NPH insulin (mean rates of 26.3 vs. 35.5 events per person-year), leading to an improvement in mean quality-adjusted life expectancy of approximately 0.019 (0.030) quality-adjusted life years (standard deviation). Annual costs were € 573.55 (110.42) vs. € 332.76 (62.18) in Denmark for insulin detemir and NPH insulin, respectively. These values were € 545.79 (106.54) vs. € 306.12 (57.78) in Sweden, € 720.10 (140.74) vs. € 408.73 (78.61) in Finland and € 584.01 (109.47) vs. € 359.60 (64.84) in the Netherlands. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios were approximately € 12 644 (Denmark), € 12 612 (Sweden), € 16 568 (Finland) and € 12 216 (the Netherlands) per quality-adjusted life year gained for insulin detemir vs. NPH insulin.
Conclusions Insulin detemir is likely to be cost-effective vs. NPH insulin in subjects with Type 1 diabetes in Denmark, Sweden, Finland and the Netherlands. Increased pharmacy costs with insulin detemir should not be a barrier to therapy based on these findings.