The results were published in the journal ClinicoEconomics and Outcomes Research in a paper titled, “Budget impact model of secukinumab for the treatment of moderate-to-severe psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis in Italy: a cross-indication initiative.”
Cosentyx, developed by Novartis, is an antibody that targets interleukin-17A, an inflammatory signaling molecule. By blocking this molecule, Cosentyx can lead to reduced inflammation. It was approved to treat adults with the three aforementioned diseases in Europe in 2015.
Researchers now examined the economic impact this has had within the Italian National Health Service over a three-year interval. In essence, the researchers created two economic models: one where Cosentyx entered the market in 2015, and one where it did not.
The researchers used data from published studies and market research for this model, though they noted that “[some] input data were not available to Italian context, and when not available, data from other countries or assumptions were entered into the model,” a noteworthy limitation of the study.
They then compared the costs that would be expected in both scenarios. The specific costs included medicines, infusions, other disease-related costs (including additional medications, going to the doctor’s office or emergency room, etc.), and the cost associated with adverse events from the medications.
The total number of patients treated with Cosentyx was estimated to be 6,648 in the first year, 10,042 in the second year, and 12,001 in the third year studied.
Overall, the introduction of Cosentyx was associated with about €66.1 million (about $73.6 million) in cost savings over the three years, which breaks down to about €1,855 (about $2,066) per patient. The majority of this cost saving (58%) was attributed to ankylosing spondylitis.
Specifically, for ankylosing spondylitis, savings were €8.4 million in year one, €13.4 million in year two, and €16.7 million in the last year of the study, for a total of €38.5 million ($42.8 million) saved over three years. That translates to around €4,568 ($5,088) saved per patient over the three-year study period.
It is important to stress that these findings only include the direct costs associated with the introduction of Cosentyx; the researchers speculated that an analysis including indirect costs, such as labor lost to being ill, might reveal even greater cost savings. However, more research will be needed.
Of note, some of the authors declared they were employees, shareholders, or consultants for Novartis.