What is known and objective: High costs of novel agents increasingly put pressure on limited healthcare budgets. Demonstration of their real-world costs and cost-effectiveness is often required for reimbursement. However, few published economic evaluations of novel agents for multiple myeloma exist. Moreover, existing cost analyses were heavily based on conventionally treated patients. We investigated real-world health care costs of relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma in Dutch daily practice.
Methods: A retrospective medical chart review was conducted for 139 patients treated between January 2001 and May 2009. Total monthly costs attributable to each cost component were described across all regimens and for bortezomib-, thalidomide- and lenalidomide-based treatment regimens.
Results: Mean monthly total costs (€3,981) varied depending on the sequence of therapy (range: €442–€31,318). Significant cost drivers across all regimens included costs of therapy and hospital admissions. The acquisition costs for novel agents in particular accounted for 32% of mean total monthly costs. Prognostic factors associated with increased mean total monthly costs in multivariate regression analysis included low platelet counts (P = 0·01) and worsening performance status (P < 0·001). Mean total monthly costs of bortezomib- and lenalidomide-based regimens were significantly higher than those for thalidomide-based regimens in second, third and fourth treatment line.
What is new and conclusions: Real-world costs during treatment of relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma vary greatly. Cost drivers include hospital admissions and acquisition costs of novel agents. Costs also vary by prognostic factors and treatment-related resource use. Future studies assessing the costs of combination therapy consisting of two or more novel agents are encouraged.