February 05, 2016
Single-tablet combination antiretroviral medications remain a good value for HIV-1 patients despite their cheaper generic multiple-tablet counterparts, a study in PlosOne concluded.
Researchers employed a computer-based microsimulation model that analyzed both the cost-efficiency and medical efficacy of single-tablet regimens (STRs) versus multiple-tablet regimens, including several generic multiple-tablet regimens (gMTRs). Medical efficacy was determined by accessing life expectancy and quality adjusted life-years (QALYs).
The study found that patients taking STRs were estimated to live 1.301 years longer, discounted 0.619 QALY gain, than those taking gMTRs. However, due to the fact that single-tablet regimens were associated with longer survival, this added $1824.09 in additional costs, on top of the average cost of the medication per patient, which is $26,547.43. Generic multiple-tablet regimens, while certainly cheaper, are a more complicated option than the once daily STR, which explains the higher inpatient costs associated with them, amounting to $12,035.61.
Although the study found that STR treatment resulted in higher incremental lifetime costs, the fact that the medication correlated to longer survival led researchers to conclude that “STRs continue to represent good value for money under contemporary cost-effectiveness thresholds despite substantial price reductions of generic medications in the U.S.”—Katie Grosso
Reference: Sweet ED, Altice LF, Cohen JC, Vandewalle B. Cost-effectiveness of single- versus generic multiple-tablet regimens for treatment of HIV-1 infection in the United States. PlosOne. 2016 January 25.