Pharmaco-economic aspects of Sipuleucel-T - Abstract

Sipuleucel-T, a new autologous active cellular immunotherapy, is indicated for metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.

This Commentary aims to highlight pharmaco-economic aspects relating to the clinical evidence, cost-effectiveness and reimbursement of sipuleucel-T. Today, there is still uncertainty surrounding the clinical benefit of sipuleucel-T and existing evidence relates to the efficacy of sipuleucel-T in a structured setting rather than to its effectiveness in a real-world setting. Due to the clinical uncertainty, there may be scope to introduce a 'coverage with evidence development' scheme, where sipuleucel-T is reimbursed subject to further evidence being generated about its (cost-)effectiveness. Given the high price for a modest effectiveness, sipuleucel-T is unlikely to be cost-effective. However, other societal considerations may matter such as the fact that sipuleucel-T is an end-of-life treatment. A case can be made to apply weights to quality-adjusted life years accrued in the later stages of terminal diseases, thereby improving the cost-effectiveness of sipuleucel-T. Also, risk-sharing arrangements could be considered where the manufacturer shares the risk with the third-party payer that the product may or may not be effective for a particular patient. However, the current absence of markers to identify eligible patients and to assess treatment response inhibits the implementation of a risk-sharing arrangement for sipuleucel-T.

Written by:
Simoens S. Are you the author?
Research Centre for Pharmaceutical Care and Pharmaco-economics; Katholieke Universiteit Leuven; Leuven, Belgium.

Reference: Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2012 Apr 1;8(4).

PubMed Abstract
PMID: 22336882