Cost-effectiveness of different interferon beta products for relapsing-remitting and secondary progressive multiple sclerosis: Decision analysis based on long-term clinical data and switchable treatments

Shekoufeh Nikfar, Abbas Kebriaeezadeh, Rassoul Dinarvand, Mohammad Abdollahi, Mohammad Ali Sahraian, David Henry, Ali Akbari Sari*

*Corresponding author for this work

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a highly debilitating immune mediated disorder and the second most common cause of neurological disability in young and middle-aged adults. Iran is amongst high MS prevalence countries (50/100,000). Economic burden of MS is a topic of important deliberation in economic evaluations study. Therefore determining of cost-effectiveness interferon beta (INF β) and their copied biopharmaceuticals (CBPs) and biosimilars products is significant issue for assessment of affordability in Lower-middle-income countries (LMICs). Methods. A literature-based Markov model was developed to assess the cost-effectiveness of three INF βs products compared with placebo for managing a hypothetical cohort of patients diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS (RRMS) in Iran from a societal perspective. Health states were based on the Kurtzke Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS). Disease progression transition probabilities for symptom management and INF β therapies were obtained from natural history studies and multicenter randomized controlled trials and their long term follow up for RRMS and secondary progressive MS (SPMS). A cross sectional study has been developed to evaluate cost and utility. Transitions among health states occurred in 2-years cycles for fifteen cycles and switching to other therapies was allowed. Calculations of costs and utilities were established by attachment of decision trees to the overall model. The incremental cost effectiveness ratio (ICER) of cost/quality adjusted life year (QALY) for all available INF β products (brands, biosimilars and CBPs) were considered. Both costs and utilities were discounted. Sensitivity analyses were done to assess robustness of model. Results: ICER for Avonex, Rebif and Betaferon was 18712, 11832, 15768 US Dollars ($) respectively when utility attained from literature review has been considered. ICER for available CBPs and biosimilars in Iran was $847, $6964 and $11913. Conclusions: The Markov pharmacoeconomics model determined that according to suggested threshold for developing countries by world health organization, all brand INF β products are cost effective in Iran except Avonex. The best strategy among INF β therapies is CBP intramuscular INF β-1a (Cinnovex). Results showed that a policy of encouraging accessibility to CBPs and biosimilars could make even high technology products cost-effective in LMICs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number50
JournalDARU Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


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