Purpose To evaluate costs of panretinal photocoagulation (PRP) vs. intravitreal ranibizumab (IVR) for proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR). Design A Markov-style model of cost-effectiveness and cost utility. Participants There were no participants. Methods Based on results from Diabetic Retinopathy Clinical Research (DRCR) Network Protocol S, we performed a Markov-style analysis to generate the total 2-year costs for each treatment arm. The cost per line-year saved and cost utility were calculated based on the estimated life years remaining. Both treatment arms were assumed to result in 9 lines of vision saved in 20% of patients. Medicare reimbursement data were acquired to determine costs, which were then separately calculated for practice settings of a hospital-based facility as the highest end of the cost range and a nonfacility in the same geographic area as the lowest end. Cost parameters for a prototypical patient's life expectancy also were modeled and calculated. Main Outcome Measures Inputed cost of therapy, cost per line saved, cost per line-year saved, and cost per quality-adjusted life years (QALY). Results When PRP was the primary treatment, the 2-year cost in the facility setting was $13 053, with cost per line saved $7252, cost per line-year $240, and cost per QALY $7988. In the nonfacility setting costs were approximately 21% lower. When IVR was the primary treatment, the 2-year cost in the facility setting was $30 328, cost per line saved was $16 849, cost per line-year $575, and cost per QALY $19 150. In the nonfacility setting costs were approximately 15% lower. Extrapolation to lifetime therapy yielded the cost per QALY with PRP treatment of $14 219 to $24 005 and with IVR of $138 852 to $164 360. Cost utility for PRP would be 85% lower than IVR in the facility setting and 90% lower than IVR in the nonfacility setting. Conclusions PRP compared with IVR as primary treatment for PDR is less expensive over 2 years, but both fall well below the accepted cost per QALY upper limit. However, over an average lifetime, the cost differential between PRP and IVR increases, and IVR therapy may exceed the typical accepted limit of cost per QALY.
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