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Pfizer's antifungal VFEND provides significant cost advantages when used as initial therapy

NEW YORK, June 1, 2005 Initial therapy with Pfizer's antifungal treatment, VFEND (voriconazole), IV for injection, tablets, and oral suspension, has significant cost advantages over the standard therapy, amphotericin B deoxycholate, for patients with invasive aspergillosis infections, according to a study in the June issue of Pharmacotherapy. The overall antifungal drug cost per patient was found to be $961 less for patients who began treatment with VFEND compared with patients who were started on amphotericin B. Patients treated with amphotericin B required significantly more switches to other antifungal therapy due to lack of patient response or patients' inability to tolerate the drug. This is the first published study that assesses the total antifungal drug treatment costs associated with this type of life-threatening infection.

Invasive aspergillosis is a severe pulmonary infection that can occur in patients with weakened immune systems. It often results in extended hospital stays and a significant economic burden. Economic analyses show that patients with this type of infection average 17 days in the hospital with mean treatment costs of $62,426. The overall case fatality rate for invasive aspergillosis is estimated to be 58 percent, but approaches 90-100 percent in patients where the infection has spread beyond the initial site.

"The savings observed in this analysis are directly related to the efficacy, tolerability and IV and oral dosing flexibility of VFEND. These savings are especially apparent when VFEND is used as initial therapy for these infections," said James Lewis, Pharm. D., lead investigator and infectious diseases pharmacy specialist at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Study Results

Lewis and other investigators analyzed data from a previously published clinical study (Herbrecht et al. NEJM Aug 2002) which compared VFEND with standard therapy with amphotericin B deox
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