The cost implications of the use of telmisartan or ramipril in patients at high risk for vascular events: the ONTARGET study
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BACKGROUND: The recently published ONTARGET trial found that telmisartan was non-inferior to ramipril in reducing CV death, MI, stroke, or heart failure in patients with vascular disease or high-risk diabetes. The cost implications of ramipril and telmisartan monotherapy use based on the ONTARGET study are reported here. METHODS AND RESULTS: Only healthcare system costs were considered. Healthcare resource utilization was collected for each patient during the trial. The authors obtained country-specific unit costs to the different healthcare care resources consumed (i.e., hospitalizations events, procedures, non-study, and study drugs) for all enrolled patients. Purchasing power parities were used to convert country-specific costs into US dollars (US$ 2008). The total undiscounted costs of the study for the telmisartan group was $12,762 per patient and is higher than the ramipril group at $12,007 per patient, an un-discounted difference of $755 (95% confidence interval [CI], $218-$1292); The discounted costs for the telmisartan group was $11,722 compared with $11,019 for the ramipril group; a difference of $703 (95% CI, $209-$1197). The difference in costs is exclusively related to the acquisition cost of telmisartan over generic ramipril. LIMITATIONS: This analysis only considered direct healthcare system costs. Costs accrued outside the hospital were not collected. Combination therapy was excluded since it would likely be more expensive than ramipril alone, with no additional benefit and a risk of some harm. CONCLUSIONS: Based on these results, it is suggested that for the ONTARGET patients, the use of telmisartan instead of ramipril increases costs by 6.3%. These findings suggest that the choice to put patients on telmisartan should be justified based on the patient?s susceptibility to specific adverse events to minimize the cost implications.
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