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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Cost minimization analysis of different growth hormone pen devices based on time-and-motion simulations

Nancy A Nickman1*, Sandra W Haak2 and Jaewhan Kim3

Author Affiliations

1 Pharmacotherapy Outcomes Research Center, University of Utah, 421 Wakara Way Suite 208, Salt Lake City, Utah 84108, USA

2 College of Nursing, University of Utah, 10 South 2000 East, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112-5880, USA

3 Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Utah; 375 Chipeta Way, Suite A, Salt Lake City, Utah 84108, USA

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BMC Nursing 2010, 9:6  doi:10.1186/1472-6955-9-6

Published: 8 April 2010



Numerous pen devices are available to administer recombinant Human Growth Hormone (rhGH), and both patients and health plans have varying issues to consider when selecting a particular product and device for daily use. Therefore, the present study utilized multi-dimensional product analysis to assess potential time involvement, required weekly administration steps, and utilization costs relative to daily rhGH administration.


Study objectives were to conduct 1) Time-and-Motion (TM) simulations in a randomized block design that allowed time and steps comparisons related to rhGH preparation, administration and storage, and 2) a Cost Minimization Analysis (CMA) relative to opportunity and supply costs. Nurses naïve to rhGH administration and devices were recruited to evaluate four rhGH pen devices (2 in liquid form, 2 requiring reconstitution) via TM simulations. Five videotaped and timed trials for each product were evaluated based on: 1) Learning (initial use instructions), 2) Preparation (arrange device for use), 3) Administration (actual simulation manikin injection), and 4) Storage (maintain product viability between doses), in addition to assessment of steps required for weekly use. The CMA applied micro-costing techniques related to opportunity costs for caregivers (categorized as wages), non-drug medical supplies, and drug product costs.


Norditropin® NordiFlex and Norditropin® NordiPen (NNF and NNP, Novo Nordisk, Inc., Bagsværd, Denmark) took less weekly Total Time (p < 0.05) to use than either of the comparator products, Genotropin® Pen (GTP, Pfizer, Inc, New York, New York) or HumatroPen® (HTP, Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, Indiana). Time savings were directly related to differences in new package Preparation times (NNF (1.35 minutes), NNP (2.48 minutes) GTP (4.11 minutes), HTP (8.64 minutes), p < 0.05)). Administration and Storage times were not statistically different. NNF (15.8 minutes) and NNP (16.2 minutes) also took less time to Learn than HTP (24.0 minutes) and GTP (26.0 minutes), p < 0.05). The number of weekly required administration steps was also least with NNF and NNP. Opportunity cost savings were greater in devices that were easier to prepare for use; GTP represented an 11.8% drug product savings over NNF, NNP and HTP at time of study. Overall supply costs represented <1% of drug costs for all devices.


Time-and-motion simulation data used to support a micro-cost analysis demonstrated that the pen device with the greater time demand has highest net costs.