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Immunology - Non-Clinical Medicine - Pharmacology - Rheumatology

Cost Effectiveness of Different Treatment Strategies in the Treatment of Patients with Moderate to Severe Rheumatoid Arthritis in China
Published: Tuesday, October 09, 2012
Author: Bin Wu et al.

by Bin Wu, Alisa Wilson, Fang-fang Wang, Su-li Wang, Daniel J. Wallace, Michael H. Weisman, Liang-jing Lu


To analyse the cost-effectiveness of traditional disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (tDMARDs) compared to biological therapies from the perspective of Chinese society.

Methodology/Principal Findings

A mathematical model was developed by incorporating the clinical trial data and Chinese unit costs and treatment sequences from a lifetime perspective. Hypothetical cohorts with moderate to severe RA were simulated. The primary outcome measure–quality-adjusted life years (QALYs)–was derived from disease severity (HAQ scores). Primary analysis included drug costs, monitoring costs, and other costs. Probabilistic and one-way sensitivity analyses were performed. Treatment sequences that included TNF antagonists and rituximab produced a greater number of QALYs than tDMARDs alone or TNF antagonists plus DMARDs. In comparison with tDMARDs, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) for etanercept, infliximab, and adalimumab without rituximab were $77,357.7, $26,562.4 and $57,838.4 per QALY and $66,422.9, $28,780.6 and $50,937.6 per QALY, for etanercept, infliximab, and adalimumab with rituximab. No biotherapy was cost-effective under the willingness to pay threshold when the threshold was 3 times the per capita GDP of China. When 3 times the per capita GDP of Shanghai used as the threshold, infliximab and rituximab could yield nearly 90% cost-effective simulations in probabilistic sensitivity analysis.


tDMARD was the most cost-effective option in the Chinese healthcare setting. In some relatively developed regions in China, infliximab and rituximab may be a favorable cost-effective alternative for moderate to severe RA.