Objective: To examine the economic implications for the Canadian health system of pharmacologic treatment of neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Design: Systematic review of economic literature and a primary economic evaluation. Participants: Economic literature search identified 392 potentially relevant articles, 12 of which were included for final review. Methods: Studies were included if they met the following criteria: (i) provision of a summary measure of the trade-off between costs and consequences; (ii) participants of 40 years and older with neovascular AMD; (iii) interventions and comparators: comparison of photodynamic therapy using verteporfin (V-PDT), pegaptanib, bevacizumab, ranibizumab, anecortave acetate, intravitreal triamcinolone, placebo, or clinically relevant combinations; and (iv) outcome reported as an incremental measure of the implication of moving from the comparator to the intervention. The following databases were searched through the OVID interface: MEDLINE, EMBASE, BIOSIS Previews, CINAHL, PubMed, Health Economic Evaluations Database (HEED), and the Cochrane Library. For the economic evaluation, we took a decision analytic approach and modeled a cost-utility analysis, conducting it as a microsimulation of a Markov model. Results: In general, V-PDT is more cost effective than conventional macular laser, and pegaptanib is likely more cost effective than V-PDT. The primary economic analysis revealed ranibizumab to be effective but at an unacceptably high cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) (>$50 000 per QALY). Conclusion: Although ranibizumab is effective for wet AMD, its cost is unacceptably high based on cost-utility theory.
- Age-related macular degeneration
- Cost effectiveness
- Pharmacologic treatment
- Quality-adjusted life year
- Systematic review