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More MS news articles for July 2003

Cost Utility analysis of multiple sclerosis treatment with glatiramer acetate or interferon beta in Spain

Farm Hosp. 2003 May-Jun;27(3):159-65
Rubio Terres C, Aristegui Ruiz I, Medina Redondo F, Izquierdo Ayuso G.
Hero Consulting. Madrid, Spain


To carry out a cost-utility analysis of the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) with glatiramer acetate (copaxone) or interferon beta (all, avonex, rebif and betaferon).


A pharmacoeconomic Markov model was used to compare treatment options by simulating the life of a hypothetical cohort of women aged 30, from the societal perspective.

The transition probabilities, utilities, resource utilisation and costs (direct and indirect) were obtained from Spanish sources and from bibliography.

Univariant sensitivity analyses of the base case were performed.


In the base case analysis, the average cost per patient (euro in 2001) for a lifetime treatment, considering a life expectancy of 53 years, would be 1,243,906 euros (euro), 1,818,149 euros, 1,763,263 euros, 1,987,153 euros and 1,704,031 euros with copaxone, all interferons, avonex, rebif and betaferon, respectively.

Therefore, the saving with copaxone would range between 460,000 and 737,000 euros approximately.

The quality-adjusted life years (QALY) obtained with copaxone or interferons would be 10.977 and 6.917, respectively, with an average gain of 4.060 QALY patient with copaxone.

The sensitivity analyses confirmed the robustness of the base case.

The interferons would only be superior to copaxone in the unlikely hypothetical case that they delay the progression of the illness by 20% more than that actually observed in clinical trials.


For a typical patient with RRMS, treatment with copaxone would be more efficient than interferons and would dominate (would be more efficacious with lower costs) interferon beta.