Objective: The study evaluated the cost effectiveness of deferasirox (Exjade) compared to non-proprietary desferrioxamine (DFO) for the control of transfusional iron overload in lower risk myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) patients. A UK National Health Service perspective was adopted. Methods: Recent clinical evidence has demonstrated the efficacy and safety of deferasirox in transfusion-dependent MDS patients with elevated serum ferritin levels. An economic
model was used to extrapolate the clinical benefits of iron chelation therapy (ICT) in a cohort of lower risk MDS patients. Costs for drug acquisition, drug administration and monitoring, and quality of life (utility) outcomes associated with mode of drug administration were derived from a variety of sources. The incremental cost per QALY gained for deferasirox was estimated. Costs and outcomes were discounted at 3.5% in line with UK standards. Results: The base-case cost effectiveness of deferasirox versus DFO was estimated to be 20,822 per QALY gained, the key driver being the additional quality of life benefits associated with a simpler mode of administration for deferasirox. A mean survival benefit for both forms of ICT of 4.5 years was estimated. The results were sensitive to drug dose, days of DFO administration, and patient weight. Conclusions: In the UK, a cost per QALY below 20,000-30,000 is considered cost effective. Hence, the results from this economic analysis suggest deferasirox is cost effective in lower risk, transfusion-dependent, MDS patients. Limitations with the analysis include a lack of comparative randomised controlled trial evidence, in particular to differentiate survival and clinical outcomes for deferasirox and DFO.