Cost-Effectiveness Study Supports Use of EUFLEXXA(TM) by Rheumatologists for Pain Relief in Patients with Knee Osteoarthritis

Thursday, November 8, 2007 General News
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BOSTON, Nov. 7 Ferring Pharmaceuticals presented theresults of a cost-utility study supporting the adoption of EUFLEXXA(TM) (1%sodium hyaluronate) intra-articular hyaluronic acid (HA) for the relief ofpain in patients with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee at the American Collegeof Rheumatology's Annual Scientific Meeting in Boston, MA, November 6-11.

Using data from a larger trial, the study demonstrated that an intra-articular treatment course of HA (EUFLEXXA(TM)) for knee OA, as compared withnon-HA therapy, provides a cost-utility benefit that supports adopting thistechnology. The data also show that wider adoption of this technology wouldresult in greater financial savings to the health care system. Osteoarthritisis one of the most common diseases seen in the rheumatologist's office,costing the health care system nearly $100 billion per year. (1)

"While the use of intra-articular HA is increasing, little has beenpublished about its cost-effectiveness," said Erol Onel, MD, Director ofMedical Affairs at Ferring. "This study is important because it not onlypresents rheumatologists with significant analysis regarding the cost-benefitof using this treatment, but it also demonstrates a potentially significantsavings to our overall health care system." More information regarding thecost-effectiveness of various OA treatment therapies is available in theFerring-sponsored OA Trends in Managed Care Report.

About the Study

The study of 160 patients with knee OA compared costs and the extension ofquality-adjusted life years (QALY) in patients using hyaluronic acid (HA) withthose using a non-HA treatment for this condition. Patients were randomizedeither to receive three 2 ml injections of EUFLEXXA(TM) or to be in a controlgroup maintained on their prior non-HA therapy. Patients' utility scores wereestimated and used to calculate QALYs. To determine costs, in addition to thecosts of HA, patients who responded to HA treatment were assigned costs ofhealth care utilization attributed to patients without OA, and non-responderswere assigned costs of health care resources consumed by OA patients. Cost-effectiveness was expressed as average and incremental cost per QALY.

The responder rate for patients in the HA treatment arm was approximately83 percent, and the mean QALY gained was 0.0877 for each patient responding totreatment with HA over baseline values. When the change of QALY of the non-responders was set as zero, the HA treatment yielded a cost-utility ratio of$38,964, while that of the control group ranged from $36,077 (assuming a 75percent response rate) to $139,648 (25 percent response rate).

The study concluded that the cost-utility ratio for EUFLEXXA(TM) is withinthe range needed to adopt a new technology, and that the product's wideradoption would result in greater savings to the health care system.


EUFLEXXA(TM) (1% sodium hyaluronate) is the first and only non-avianderived hyaluronic acid approved in the U.S. for the treatment of pain causedby knee osteoarthritis and is indicated for a three-injection treatmentregimen for patients who have failed to respond adequately to conservativenon-pharmacologic therapy and simple analgesics (eg, acetaminophen). In aprospective, randomized, double-blind, head-to-head study versus the marketleading HA therapy, significantly more patients were "pain free" and "symptomfree" with EUFLEXXA(TM).(2)

The process used to manufacture EUFLEXXA(TM) produces the HA that mostclosely resembles the HA in healthy human synovial fluid and the most highlypurified HA product available today. In addition, since it is not derived froman avian source (chicken or rooster combs), the risk of reactions related toavian proteins is eliminated.(3-8)

EUFLEXXA(TM) received PMA approval from the U.S. Food and DrugAdministration (FDA) on December 3, 2004, and bec

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