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Gains in Multiple Myeloma Survival Outpace Costs


September 11, 2018

Patients recently diagnosed with multiple myeloma are incurring greater healthcare costs compared with patients diagnosed just a few years earlier, however, those additional dollars spent coincide with substantial gains in survival. Researchers published their findings in American Health and Drug Benefit.

“Our study adds to the available body of evidence that increases in healthcare costs among patients with multiple myeloma in recent years have been offset by improved outcomes,” researchers wrote.

The study compared survival and healthcare costs of 2597 patients diagnosed with multiple myeloma between 2006 and 2010 with 2602 patients diagnosed between 2011 and 2014.

Patients diagnosed during the latter period (2011 to 2014), researchers found, had a 35% lower risk of death compared with those diagnosed during the earlier period (2006 to 2010). They also had an average 18% bump in all-cause healthcare costs, and an average 26% increase in multiple-myeloma-specific healthcare costs, per patient per month.

According to the study, adjusted mean all-cause costs were $16,449 and adjusted mean multiple myeloma-specific costs were $9422, per patient per month, for patients diagnosed during the latter period. In comparison, patients diagnosed during the earlier period had all-cause costs of $13,960, and multiple myeloma-specific costs of $7476, per patient per month.

“The decrease in mortality rate was greater than the increase in healthcare costs over the same time period, suggesting that in recent years a dollar spent on healthcare may lead to improved patient outcomes compared with a dollar spent in previous years,” researchers wrote. “Hence, the value of healthcare spending among patients with multiple myeloma has increased over time, and this increase may be attributed to advancements in drug therapies, coupled with advancements in disease management.”

Jolynn Tumolo


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