Despite the success of statins, there remains unmet clinical need in cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention. New proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitors reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) by 55–65%. Two PCSK9 inhibitors, evolocumab, and alirocumab, were approved for use in Norway but not yet for reimbursement through public national insurance. We aim to explore the cost-effectiveness of these compared with available treatments in a Norwegian setting.
Methods and results
A state transition Markov model was developed to model the cost-effectiveness of PCSK9 inhibitors for prevention of coronary heart disease, ischaemic strokes, and death among high-risk patient subpopulations in Norway, in both primary and secondary settings. Evolocumab and alirocumab are compared against ezetimibe and standard treatment. Risk of CVD is based on population incidence rates and adjusted according to baseline risk factors. Preventative effect of treatment was modelled according to absolute reduction in LDL-C. PCSK9 inhibitors were never found to be cost-effective in primary prevention. In secondary prevention they were cost-effective only for older, high-risk patients. The lowest cost-effectiveness ratios were for heterozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia patients and high-risk diabetics, with €63 200 and €68 400 per quality-adjusted life-year, respectively.
High lifetime costs of PCSK9 inhibitors may not be offset by estimated health gains for most eligible patients. PCSK9 inhibitors are found in the model only to be cost-effective in secondary prevention for older patients with high absolute risk of CVD. This picture is likely to change as price decreases. Future research is needed to determine the long-term preventative effects of PCSK9 inhibitors.
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