Background and importance Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is one of the most frequent oncological diseases with an important economic impact in the National Health System (NHS).
Aim and objectives To determine the avoided cost for the hospital attributable to drugs assigned to patients with NSCLC enrolled in clinical trials (CTs). It was considered as such the cost that these drugs would mean for the NHS if the patients had not been included in a CT.
Material and methods Retrospective, descriptive study of the drug cost avoidance in CTs conducted in patients with NSCLC during the study period (January 2020−August 2021). CT title, protocol code, phase, promotor, masking and investigational drugs were collected via the software programs FarmaTools and Fundanet. To calculate the avoided cost the following aspects were analysed: number of patients enrolled, scheme, dispensed drug(s), number of dispensations, duration of the treatment, standard of care and average drug prices for economic evaluation. CTs in NSCLC with included patients, with a therapeutic alternative available and those in which the sponsor provided the medicines under research, were included in the study.
Results 23 CTs with a total of 111 NSCLC patients were included in the study. A total of 43.5% were phase II, 34.8% phase III and 21.7% phase Ib/II. 82.6% belonged to the pharmaceutical industry and the rest were promoted by cooperative groups (19 and 14, respectively). 973 cycles were dispensed with an average of 17±7.5 cycles administered per patient. The total cost avoidance was €2 314 274.25. The estimated average savings per CT was €100 620.62, per cycle dispensed €2378.49 and per patient €20 849.32.
Conclusion and relevance CTs are essential for evaluating the efficacy and safety of new treatments. Furthermore, cost avoidance in investigational drugs is a tangible benefit of clinical trials, whose realisation is a source of economic benefits for the hospital as we observed in this study.
Conflict of interest No conflict of interest