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The results of a recent study by a group of medical researchers in China have suggested that using Avastin® (bevacizumab) in combination with first-line chemotherapy may not be very cost effective for treating malignant pleural mesothelioma. While bevacizumab has been the focus of a number of immunotherapy trials to study the efficacy of the drug as an adjuvant treatment for mesothelioma, this is the first economic study to look at costs associated with the drug.
The study used standardized models to assess the effectiveness of the drug at various stages of the cancer, including progression-free survival, progressive disease, and death. The researchers calculated the costs of treatment from the perspective of Chinese payers – including patients themselves, insurance companies, and government payers – to come up with a measurement known as the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio.
After analyzing the data, the research team discovered that the incremental cost effectiveness ratio was significantly higher than the commonly accepted willingness-to-pay amount of three times the per capita GDP.
“The combination of bevacizumab with PC chemotherapy is not a cost-effective treatment option for MPM in China,” the researchers concluded upon seeing the evidence. “Given its positive clinical value and extremely low incidence of MPM, an appropriate price discount, assistance programs and medical insurance should be considered to make bevacizumab more affordable for this rare patient population.”
Although the study used Chinese costs and patient data, the costs of mesothelioma treatment have been steadily increasing everywhere around the globe in recent years. While some of these costs may be covered by insurance, the vast majority of mesothelioma patients and their families find themselves deep in debt from the ongoing medical bills, travel expenses, and other treatment-related costs of the disease.
Due to the rising costs of cancer therapy, many individuals turn to a mesothelioma lawyer to help them seek compensation from the companies responsible for their asbestos exposure. Given the lack of other options available, this is often the only recourse many patients and their families have to pay for those costs.