Economic evaluation of sevelamer versus calcium-based phosphate binders in hemodialysis patients: A secondary analysis using centers for medicare & medicaid services data

Wendy L. St. Peter, Qiao Fan, Eric Weinhandl, Jiannong Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background and objectives: A secondary analysis of the Dialysis Clinical Outcomes Revisited (DCOR) trial suggested that sevelamer reduced hospitalizations relative to calcium-based phosphate binders. However, whether changed medical costs associated with reduced hospitalizations or other medical services offset the higher cost of sevelamer is unclear. This DCOR secondary analysis aimed to (1) evaluate Medicare total, inpatient, outpatient, skilled nursing facility, and other costs in sevelamer-treated versus calcium-treated patients; (2) examine Medicare costs in specific categories to determine cost drivers; and (3) estimate and incorporate sevelamer and calcium binder costs. Design, setting, participants, & measurements: DCOR trial participants were linked to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services ESRD database. Medicare costs for 1895 dosed Medicare-primary-payer participants were evaluated. Phosphate binder costs were incorporated. Costs were indexed to 2001 (study base year). Sensitivity analyses were performed with randomized participants, two follow-up periods, and 2004 as index year. Results: Inflation-adjusted Medicare per member per month (PMPM) costs were lower for sevelamer-treated than for calcium-treated participants by a mean differential of $199 PMPM (mean, $5236 versus $5435; median, $4653 versus $4933), mainly because of lower inpatient costs for the sevelamer group (mean, $1461 versus $1644; median, $909 versus $1144). However, after phosphate binder costs were incorporated, costs trended lower for calcium-treated than for sevelamer-treated patients (differential -$81, 95% confidence interval -$321 to $157 PMPM, using average wholesale price; -$25, -$256 to $213 PMPM, using wholesale acquisition cost). Conclusions: Sevelamer reduced inpatient Medicare costs compared with calcium binders. However, when binder costs were added, overall PMPM costs favored calcium-treated over sevelamer-treated participants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1954-1961
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology
Volume4
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - 2009

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