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More MS news articles for March 2003

Teva’s Copaxone least cost-effective MS drug - report

Research reported in the British Medical Journal tested four multiple sclerosis drugs using cost/benefit modeling.

9th Mar 2003, 11:14
Avi Weinreb
A report in the British Medical Journal shows that Teva’s (Nasdaq: TEVA) multiple sclerosis (MS) drug Copaxone is the least cost-effective treatment for the disease.
The report was written by a group of seven British researchers working for the UK National Health Service’s National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE). The researchers are members of the Cost Effectiveness of Multiple Sclerosis Therapies Study Group, which is evaluating the cost effectiveness of various MS therapies for the NHS.

“Cost effectiveness varied markedly between the interventions,” the report states. “The base case cost per quality adjusted life year (QALY) gained by using any of the four treatments ranged from £42,000 ($66,469; €61,630) to £98,000 based on efficacy information in the public domain. Uncertainty analysis suggests that the probability of any of these treatments having a cost effectiveness better than £20,000 at 20 years is below 20%.”

Cost per QALY is a modeling device used in determining priorities in health care when resources are scarce. QALY’s incorporate drugs’ effectiveness in extending a person’s life and improving his or her health.

The report found that over a period of twenty years, the cost per QALY for Teva’s Copaxone reached £97,636. This is more than twice the cost of Biogen’s Avonex drug, where the cost per QALY was £42,041; Betaferon treatments cost £44,000 - £49,000 and Rebif cost £61,000 - £72,000, depending on the dosage.

The report continues, “The point estimates of the cost effectiveness of four treatments improved considerably as the time horizon increased… Further research to establish the impact of these treatments by using robust and stable outcome measures would be of considerable value in improving the precision of estimates for cost effectiveness.”

Teva's Copaxone and rival beta-interferon drugs are not provided by the National Health Service in Britain because of doubts about their effectiveness in relation to their cost.

© Copyright 2003, Globes [online]