Analysis of the cost effectiveness of recombinant versus urinary follicle-stimulating hormone in in vitro fertilization/intracytoplasmic sperm injection programs in the United States
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OBJECTIVE: To compare the cost effectiveness of recombinant human FSH (Gonal-F; Serono, Inc., Randolph, MA) and urinary FSH (Fertinex; Serono, Inc.) for ovarian stimulation during IVF with or without intracytoplasmic sperm injection for the treatment of infertility. DESIGN: Clinical decision analysis techniques (the Markov model) were used to model the direct medical costs per patient during assisted reproductive technology. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Clinical and economic outcomes of two different ovarian stimulation protocols (recombinant human FSH or urinary FSH) during three treatment cycles were considered. RESULT(S): More ongoing pregnancies were achieved, with fewer stimulation cycles, after recombinant human FSH (Gonal-F) than after urinary FSH (Fertinex) (40,665 versus 37,890). In addition, recombinant human FSH was also found to be more cost effective per ongoing pregnancy. From a societal perspective, the mean cost per pregnancy was $40,688 for recombinant human FSH versus $47,096 for urinary FSH. From the insurers' perspective, the mean cost/pregnancy for recombinant human FSH was $28,481 versus $32,967 for urinary FSH. CONCLUSION(S): Recombinant human FSH (Gonal-F) is not only more efficient clinically than urinary FSH (Fertinex), but also more cost effective. This analysis illustrates the point that the economic effectiveness of a drug depends less on its acquisition costs and rather more on the clinical outcomes associated with its use.
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