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Retrospective Analysis Finds Treatment of Cancer Chemotherapy Patients With Epoetin Alfa Associated With Lower Drug Cost Than Darbepoetin Alfa
Date:5/13/2009

HORSHAM, Pa., May 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Data from a study of managed-care cancer patients receiving chemotherapy and newly treated with erythropoiesis-stimulating agents (ESAs) found that the cumulative ESA cost with Epoetin alfa (EPO) was 29 percent lower than treatment with darbepoetin alfa (DARB). The analysis, published in the Spring issue of the Journal of Medical Economics, was sponsored by Centocor Ortho Biotech Services, LLC.

The retrospective cohort study of 10,928 patients investigated the current real-world dosing patterns and associated ESA costs in an adult cancer chemotherapy population. The data showed that the cumulative ESA cost was $4,321 for patients receiving EPO vs. $6,089 for DARB patients (p<0.0001). The dose ratio was 255 units of EPO to 1 microgram (mcg) of DARB. The authors stated these findings are consistent with dose ratios from studies of randomized clinical trials and other observational studies.

The EPO:DARB dose ratio often is used to compare the relative utilization of EPO and DARB because EPO is measured in International Units and DARB is measured in micrograms. It is based on the agents' cumulative treatment doses and often is used for reimbursement purposes by payers.

"Information regarding the dose ratio between EPO and DARB in real-world settings is important to ensure healthcare resources are used efficiently," said Francis Vekeman, M.A., Senior Economist, Groupe d'analyse, Ltee, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. "Managed care organizations may find it informative that our retrospective analysis reported a dose ratio of EPO to DARB of 255:1, which was associated with lower ESA costs for patients receiving EPO in the managed care setting."

About the Study

Vekeman et al. conducted a retrospective cohort study of medical claims data from the PharMetrics Patient-Centric database of approximately 85 health plans from January
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SOURCE Centocor Ortho Biotech Products, L.P.
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