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Original Investigation
January 9, 2020

Cost-effectiveness of Intravitreal Ranibizumab With Verteporfin Photodynamic Therapy Compared With Ranibizumab Monotherapy for Patients With Polypoidal Choroidal Vasculopathy

Author Affiliations
  • 1Programme in Health Services and Systems Research, Duke-NUS (National University of Singapore) Medical School, Singapore
  • 2Novartis Singapore Pte, Ltd, Singapore
  • 3Singapore Eye Research Institute, Singapore National Eye Centre, Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore
JAMA Ophthalmol. Published online January 9, 2020. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2019.5628
Key Points

Question  What is the incremental cost-effectiveness of intravitreal ranibizumab with verteporfin photodynamic therapy (combination therapy) relative to ranibizumab monotherapy for patients with polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy?

Findings  In this economic evaluation of a hypothetical cohort of patients with polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy, combination therapy generated slightly greater quality-adjusted life-years (7.87 vs 7.85) at roughly equal lifetime costs during a lifetime horizon. For a 10-year horizon, combination therapy may not be cost-effective.

Meaning  These results suggest that, from a lifetime cost-effectiveness perspective, combination therapy with ranibizumab should be considered as an alternative to standard care for patients with polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy.


Importance  The EVEREST II trial showed that for patients with polypoidal choroidal vasculopathy (PCV), intravitreal ranibizumab in combination with verteporfin photodynamic therapy improves visual acuity relative to ranibizumab monotherapy. However, whether combination therapy is incrementally cost-effective relative to monotherapy during a lifetime is unclear.

Objective  To assess the incremental cost-effectiveness of combination therapy compared with ranibizumab monotherapy in patients with PCV.

Design, Setting, and Participants  This model-based, economic evaluation used 2018 unit cost data from a tertiary eye hospital in Singapore, first- and second-year outcomes and resource use data from a multicenter trial across various Asian countries (EVEREST II) to model a hypothetical cohort of patients with symptomatic PCV. Scenario analyses and deterministic and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were performed to examine uncertainty. Data were collected from October 2018 through April 2019 and analyzed from March through October 2019.

Interventions  This model used data from the EVEREST II trial, in which all participants were given 0.5 mg of intravitreal ranibizumab once every 4 weeks for the first 3 months. Subsequent administration occurred as needed. For participants receiving combination therapy, standard fluence (50 J/cm3) photodynamic therapy with 6-mg/m2 verteporfin was administered once during the first 3 months and thereafter as needed.

Main Outcomes and Measures  Incremental cost per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained for combination therapy relative to monotherapy for patients with PCV.

Results  In this model based on a cohort of 1000 patients aged 68 years, a patient with PCV incurred a total cost in Singapore dollars (SGD) of 92 327 (US $67 399) with combination therapy and SGD 92 371 (US $67 431) with monotherapy during a lifetime horizon, generating a modest cost savings of SGD 44 (US $32) per patient undergoing combination therapy. Lifetime QALYs were estimated to be 7.87 for combination therapy and 7.85 for monotherapy, for an incremental gain of 0.02 QALYs. Combination therapy remained cost-saving or cost-effective in all lifetime scenarios modeled, but during shorter time horizons and at lower monotherapy costs, it may not be cost-effective.

Conclusions and Relevance  This study found combination therapy to be a dominant (more effective and less costly) strategy, being similar in costs and slightly more effective than ranibizumab monotherapy during a lifetime horizon. However, decreasing the time horizon to less than 10 years and/or reductions in the cost of monotherapy may result in combination therapy no longer being cost-effective.

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