New kidney disease drug saves lives at low cost

A recent study has found that sevelamer (Renagel) is having a positive long term clinical and economic effect when used on hemodialysis patients. This study, undertaken by the Caro Research Institute in Concord, MA and published in Value in Health, examined the long-term consequences associated with one year of sevelamer use.

"The safety and efficacy of sevelamer and its ability to attenuate the progression of calcification have been well documented in a seminal clinical study, but the study was not designed to assess the longer-term implications," says Krista Huybrechts who led the study.

Huybrechts' team developed a simulation model based on the best available evidence to date, and estimated that in the long-term, patients on sevelamer have a 12% lower cardiovascular risk than those on calcium binders. The cost savings accrued due to avoiding cardiovascular events largely offset the higher drug cost, leading to a very favorable cost-effectiveness ratio of about $2,200 of increased cost per life year gained.

The results of this study now allow health policy makers and payers to understand the value of sevelamer in the long-term where it could not have been done from the clinical study alone.

Close to 500,000 Americans suffer from Stage V chronic kidney disease (CKD) and have a 10-20 times higher risk of cardiovascular mortality than the general population.


Contact: Kathleen Mulcahy
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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