UIC researchers determining value of two new drugs

Two new medications entering the marketplace to treat tardive dyskinesia will be studied by a group of pharmacoeconomists from the University of Illinois at Chicago to determine their cost effectiveness for patients suffering from the disorder that causes involuntary, repetitive body movements.Center for Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomic Research (CPPR) logo

UIC’s Center for Pharmacoepidemiology & Pharmacoeconomic Research has been contracted by the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) to conduct a full analysis of each drug’s comparative and cost effectiveness. ICER, a non-profit organization that evaluates evidence on the value of medical tests, treatments and delivery system innovations and moves that evidence into action to improve the health care system, calculates the value of each new drug based on price and benefit to patients.

UIC pharmacoeconomists led by Daniel Touchette and Surrey Walton, associate professors of pharmacy systems, outcomes and policy, will estimate the comparative economic impact of the two new drugs while ICER will be responsible for calculating the value-based price benchmark.

“This partnership will allow us to conduct research to advance the understanding of the impact of pharmacy and healthcare services, products and policy and to translate and disseminate research findings to inform healthcare policy and practice,” Touchette said. “We are excited by the opportunity to work with ICER to further apply our efforts.”

UIC will develop a simulation model with data that will include disease-specific measures, symptom improvements, treatment-related adverse events and health-related quality of life, Touchette said. Model cost inputs will include those of the treatment regimens, costs of treating adverse events, and ongoing care. Results are tentatively planned to be detailed in terms of costs per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained.

Once UIC completes its report, the ICER will develop an estimate of each drug’s value, and whether it’s a reasonable price to be paying, or at what threshold becomes reasonably priced. Insurers then use this analysis to base decisions on whether or not the drug will be covered.

“Our reports have the potential to inform important health care and policy decisions among patients, doctors, payers, manufacturers and other stakeholders,” said Daniel Ollendorf, ICER’s chief scientific officer. “For this reason, we recognize the importance of ensuring that our reports rely on the most up-to-date methodology possible.

“Our collaboration with UIC will allow us to do just that — applying their proven expertise in the complexities of health economics to elevate our assessments of the value of drugs and other interventions.”

Tardive dyskinesia is a side effect of antipsychotic medications, used to treat schizophrenia and other mental health disorders. It causes uncontrollable stiff, jerky movements of the face and body, similar to Tourette’s syndrome. Not everyone who takes an antipsychotic medication will get it, but it can be permanent if it occurs.

Antipsychotic, or neuroleptic, drugs block the brain chemical dopamine, which helps cells communicate with each other and makes the muscles move smoothly. Too much dopamine causes movements to become jerky and out of control. Older versions of the drugs are more likely to cause these movements than newer ones, but some studies find similar risk from both older and newer agents.

This is the first of two new economic studies to be conducted by UIC for ICER this year. The second will follow the completion of the first analysis.