Factors Associated With a Patient's Decision to Select a Cost-effective vs the Most Effective Therapy for Their Own Eye Disease
Sanchez, Jaron Castillo
JournalJAMA Network Open
PublisherAmerican Medical Association
MetadataShow full item record
Abstractmportance: Ten percent of the Medicare Part B budget is spent on aflibercept, used to treat a myriad of ocular neovascular diseases. A substantial portion of these costs can be attributed to a few hundred ophthalmologists, raising concerns regarding the influence of pharmaceutical companies on the choice of medication by a relatively small group of clinicians. One approach to protect patients' health care interests is to include them in deliberations on the choice of therapy for their eye disease. Objective: To examine factors associated with patients' choice between an effective and less expensive off-label drug or a more effective, but also more expensive, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved drug. Design, Setting, and Participants: This retrospective cohort analysis used data from the satellite office of a tertiary referral center from August 2, 2013, to April 9, 2018. Insured patients initiating treatment with anti-vascular endothelial growth factor were included in the analysis. Data were analyzed from March 26, 2018, to June 10, 2020. Interventions: Patients were asked to choose between bevacizumab (approximately $100 per dose), a chemotherapy that is effective, but not FDA approved, for the treatment of ocular vascular disease, or aflibercept (approximately $2000 per dose), an FDA-approved drug for ocular vascular disease that may be more effective than bevacizumab in some patients. Independent of this choice, patients were separately asked by a study coordinator to participate in an invasive clinical study for which they would not be compensated, there was a small risk for an adverse event, and they would not personally benefit from participating (a surrogate marker for altruism). Main Outcomes and Measures: Factors associated with patients' choice of medication, including age, sex, ocular disease, race, and participation in an invasive clinical study. Results: A total of 189 patients were included in the analysis (106 women [56%]; mean [SEM] age, 74.6 [0.8] years). Despite being told that it may not be as effective as aflibercept, 100 patients (53%) selected bevacizumab for their own eye care. An act of altruism (ie, participation in an invasive clinical study) when the patient was making a choice between the 2 drugs was associated with a patient's choice of bevacizumab (odds ratio [OR], 7.03; 95% CI, 2.27-21.80; P < .001); the OR for selecting bevacizumab for patients who never agreed to participate in the clinical study was 0.45 (95% CI, 0.25-0.83; P = .001). Age (OR, 1.00; 95% CI, 0.97-1.03; P = .86), race (OR, 0.70; 95% CI, 0.41-1.22; P = .21), sex (OR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.39-1.35; P = .31), presence of diabetes (OR, 1.52; 95% CI, 0.59-3.93; P = .39), and type of eye disease (OR, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.30-1.04; P = .07) were not associated with choice of therapy. Conclusions and Relevance: These findings suggest that clinicians must consider the ethical implications of the influence of altruism when patients participate in the decision between cost-effective vs the most effective medicines for their own health care.
Identifier to cite or link to this itemhttp://hdl.handle.net/10713/15001
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