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Open Access Research article

Drug costs in the management of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer in Canada

Alice Dragomir12*, Daniela Dinea13, Marie Vanhuyse45, Fabio L Cury46 and Armen G Aprikian124

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Surgery, Division of Urology, McGill University, 1650 Cedar Avenue, Montreal, Quebec H3G 1A4, Canada

2 Research Institute of McGill University Health Center, 2155 Guy St, Montreal, Quebec H3H 2R9, Canada

3 Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Montreal, CP 6128 Succursale Centre-Ville, Montreal, Quebec H3C 3 J7, Canada

4 McGill University Health Center, 1650 Cedar Avenue, Montreal, Quebec H3G 1A4, Canada

5 Department of Oncology, Division of Medical Oncology, McGill University, 1650 Cedar Avenue, Montreal, Quebec H3G 1A4, Canada

6 Department of Oncology, Division of Radiation Oncology, McGill University, 1650 Cedar Avenue, Montreal, Quebec H3G 1A4, Canada

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BMC Health Services Research 2014, 14:252  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-252

Published: 13 June 2014

Abstract

Background

For Canadian men, prostate cancer (PCa) is the most common cancer and the 3rd leading cause of cancer mortality. Men dying of PCa do so after failing castration. The management of metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) is complex and the associated drug treatments are increasingly costly. The objective of this study was to estimate the cost of drug treatments over the mCRPC period, in the context of the latest evidence-based approaches.

Methods

Two Markov models with Monte-Carlo microsimulations were developed in order to simulate the management of the disease and to estimate the cost of drug treatments in mCRPC, as per Quebec’s public healthcare system. The models include recently approved additional lines of treatment after or before docetaxel (i.e. abiraterone and cabazitaxel). Drug exposure and survival were based on clinical trial results and clinical practice guidelines found in a literature review. All costs were assigned in 2013 Canadian dollars ($). Only direct drug costs were estimated.

Results

The mean cost of mCRPC drug treatments over an average period of 28.1 months was estimated at $48,428 per patient (95% Confidence Interval: $47,624 to $49,232). The mean cost increased to $104,071 (95% CI: $102,373 - $105,770) per patient when one includes abiraterone initiation prior to docetaxel therapy. Over the mCRPC period, luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone agonists (LHRHa) prescribed to maintain castrate testosterone levels accounted for 20.4% of the total medication cost, whereas denosumab prescribed to decrease bone-related events accounted for 30.5% of costs. When patients received cabazitaxel in sequence after abiraterone and docetaxel, the mCRPC medications cost per patient per month increased by 60.2%. The total cost of medications for the treatment of each annual Canadian cohort of 4,000 mCRPC patients was estimated at $ 193.6 million to $416.3 million.

Conclusions

Our study estimates the direct drug costs associated with mCRPC treatments in the Canadian healthcare system. Recently identified effective yet not approved therapies will become part of the spectrum of mCRPC treatments, and may potentially increase the cost.

Keywords:
Metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer; Treatments for advanced prostate cancer; Cost of treatments; Markov model; Cost of drugs for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer in Canada