Economic and policy implications of adopting paclitaxel as first-line therapy for advanced ovarian cancer: an Ontario perspective.
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PURPOSE: To determine the potential economic and policy implications that result from incorporating paclitaxel into first-line therapy for stage 3 and 4 ovarian cancer patients in the province of Ontario, Canada. METHODS: A cost-effectiveness analysis was conducted to compare cisplatin/cyclophosphamide (CC), a standard therapy, with cisplatin/paclitaxel (CT). Based on survival curves from a clinical trial, mean costs and survival were calculated. Sensitivity analyses were conducted based on altering the duration of paclitaxel infusion, discount rates, and efficacy of paclitaxel. RESULTS: The mean survival duration is prolonged from 2.06 years with the standard therapy to 2.44 years with the paclitaxel combination. The paclitaxel therapy is more expensive, with a mean cost of $17,469 (Canadian) per patient treated with CT compared with $5,228 per patient with CC. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio is $32,213 per year gained. Sensitivity analyses show that the conclusions remain unchanged. The use of CT as first-line treatment for advanced ovarian cancer patients in Ontario requires an additional $9 million per year over and above the present costs to treat this patient population. CONCLUSION: Although paclitaxel-based therapy prolongs survival, it comes at an increased cost. It may not be possible to fund paclitaxel treatment using resources presently allocated to first-line chemotherapy for advanced ovarian cancer. The policy implications for absorbing the cost of paclitaxel in the context of a publicly funded health care system are discussed.
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