The cost-utility of aflibercept for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration compared to bevacizumab and ranibizumab and the influence of model parameters

M. Elshout, M.I. van der Reis, C.A.B. Webers, J.S.A.G. Schouten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a blinding disease placing considerable burden on society due to blindness-associated costs. Intravitreal anti-vascular endothelial growth factors (anti-VEGFs) are effective in reducing the incidence of blindness, but at potentially high costs, depending on the cost of the drug used. Aflibercept has been introduced as an anti-VEGF equally effective to ranibizumab, but less costly. For this new drug, new cost-effectiveness analyses are needed, and AMD models used today give biased results. We investigated the cost-effectiveness of aflibercept compared to bevacizumab, ranibizumab, and no treatment and studied the influence of commonly used model parameters.

A patient-level, visual acuity-based, 2-eye model was developed. Data on effectiveness were derived from randomized controlled trials evaluating the outcomes of aflibercept, bevacizumab, and ranibizumab. Utility and resource utilization were assessed in interviews with AMD patients. Costs were based on standard health care cost prices. Time horizons were two and five years. A societal perspective was employed.

Over five years, costs associated with aflibercept treatment were a,not sign36,030, with 2.15 QALYs. Costs associated with the bevacizumab regimens, ABC study as-needed (PRN); CATT study PRN; and CATT study 1x/month, were a,not sign19,367; a,not sign26,746; and a,not sign30,520, with 2.16; 2.17; and 2.15 QALYs, respectively. Costs associated with ranibizumab PRN and 1x/month were a,not sign45,491 and a,not sign74,837 with 2.16 and 2.15 QALYs, respectively. 'No treatment' was associated with a,not sign9530 and 1.96 QALYs. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratios versus 'no treatment' were: aflibercept-a,not sign140,274; bevacizumab-a,not sign51,062 (ABC PRN), a,not sign83,256 (CATT PRN) and a,not sign110,361 (1x/month); ranibizumab-a,not sign181,667 (PRN) and a,not sign349,773 (1x/month). Results were highly dependent on whether only one or both eyes were included, length of time horizon, and whether the costs of blindness and low-vision were included in the analysis.

Aflibercept is a cost-effective treatment for AMD over ranibizumab. However, aflibercept is not a cost-effective treatment when compared to bevacizumab. Application of inappropriate model assumptions leads to a biased cost-saving estimate of the cost-effectiveness of aflibercept. Therefore, cost-effectiveness analyses should be conducted with appropriate models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1911-1920
Number of pages10
JournalGraefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2014


  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Aflibercept
  • Bevacizumab
  • Ranibizumab
  • EYE

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