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Cost-effectiveness of lenalidomide in multiple myeloma.

Author(s): Schey S, Higginson I

Affiliation(s): Kings College London School of Medicine, London, SE5 9RS, UK. sschey@kch.nhs.net

Publication date & source: 2010-06, Expert Rev Pharmacoecon Outcomes Res., 10(3):229-38.

Publication type: Review

Lenalidomide represents the first drug in a novel class of agents known as IMiDs. It has both direct antimyeloma activity and an indirect effect acting through the microenvironment. In the relapsed/refractory setting, lenalidomide has been demonstrated to be highly active, producing partial and complete responses that translate into improved survival. Generally, the drug is well tolerated and more recently this agent has been used in combination with steroids, chemotherapy agents and other novel agents that have further enhanced its efficacy in clinical trials. However, the cost of this and other novel agents is significantly greater than previously used chemotherapy protocols, which in turn means that they have fallen under the scrutiny of regulatory bodies such as NICE. It is important that researchers understand the instruments used by these bodies to come to decisions regarding cost-effectiveness if patients are not to be disadvantaged by not being given access to these active new agents. This article outlines the models used by health economists and assesses their potential shortcomings. It also suggests alternative methods and identifies areas of research where improvements might be achieved.

Page last updated: 2010-10-05

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