• cardiovascular events;
  • cost-effectiveness;
  • phosphate binders


Background:  Sevelamer hydrochloride (Renagel) binds phosphate in patients with end-stage renal disease without the use of exogenous calcium and may reduce the progression of coronary vascular calcification. This intervention was shown to be cost-effective in the United States. This paper presents the Canadian adaptation.

Methods:  A discrete event simulation of the long-term cardiovascular implications of 1 year of phosphate binding in a prevalent hemodialysis population was used to estimate the cost-effectiveness of sevelamer use in Canada based on the demographics, comorbidities, physiological and renal characteristics. Initial calcification score and expected changes over 1 year were derived using regression equations developed from a clinical trial and translated to cardiovascular disease risk based on equations developed from a long-term cohort study. Direct medical costs from a Canadian Medicare perspective were taken from Ontario data. Ten replications of 10,000 patients over 13 years (discounting at 3%) were done for the base case and extensive sensitivity analyses were conducted.

Results:  The cardioprotective effect of sevelamer over 1 year is estimated to prevent 10 cardiovascular events and gain 18 life-years compared with calcium carbonate in 100 patients over a lifetime. These benefits are obtained at a net cost of CAD$2,096; an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of CAD$12,384 per discounted life-year gained. Sensitivity analyses showed that the time horizon and efficacy were the most important factors.

Conclusion:  The results of this study provide evidence that use of sevelamer in Canada would be economically sound.