Background: Patients with infantile-onset spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a rare, genetic neuromuscular disease, do not achieve key motor function milestones (e.g., sitting) and have short life expectancy in the absence of treatment. Nusinersen is a disease-modifying therapy for patients with SMA.
Objective: The aim of this study was to estimate the cost-effectiveness of nusinersen compared to best supportive care (BSC) in patients diagnosed with infantile-onset SMA in the US.
Methods: A de novo economic model was developed with the following health states: “permanent ventilation”, “not sitting”, “sitting”, “walking”, and “death”. Short-term data were sourced from the pivotal clinical trials and studies of nusinersen (ENDEAR and SHINE). Motor function milestones achieved at the end of follow-up in the clinical trials were assumed to be sustained until death. Mortality risks were based on survival modelling of relevant published Kaplan–Meier data. Costs, life years (LYs), and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) were discounted at 3% per annum, and the analyses were performed from a US health care sector perspective. Scenario analyses and sensitivity analyses were conducted to assess the robustness of the results to key parameters.
Results: In our base-case analysis, nusinersen treatment achieves greater QALYs and more LYs (3.24 and 7.64, respectively) compared with BSC (0.46 QALYs and 2.40 LYs, respectively), resulting in an incremental cost per QALY gained of approximately $1,112,000 and an incremental cost per LY gained of $590,000 for nusinersen compared to BSC. The incremental cost efectiveness ratios did not fall below $990,000 per QALY gained in scenario and sensitivity analyses. Results were most sensitive to the length of survival, background health care costs, and utility in the “not sitting” and “sitting” health states.
Conclusions: The estimated incremental cost-effectiveness of nusinersen from a US health care sector perspective exceeded traditional cost-effectiveness thresholds. Cost-effectiveness was dependent on assumptions made regarding survival, costs, utilities, and whether the motor function milestones were sustained over lifetime. Given the relatively short-term effectiveness data available for the treatment, a registry to collect long-term data of infantile-onset SMA patients is recommended.