Denosumab is a novel biologic agent approved in Canada for treatment of post-menopausal osteoporosis (PMO) in women at high risk for fracture or who have failed or are intolerant to other osteoporosis therapies. This study estimated cost-effectiveness of denosumab vs usual care from the perspective of the Ontario public payer.
A previously published PMO Markov cohort model was adapted for Canada to estimate cost-effectiveness of denosumab. The primary analysis included women with demographic characteristics similar to those from the pivotal phase III denosumab PMO trial (FREEDOM; age 72 years, femoral neck BMD T-score -2.16 SD, vertebral fracture prevalence 23.6%). Three additional scenario sub-groups were examined including women: (1) at high fracture risk, defined in FREEDOM as having at least two of three risk factors (age 70+; T-score = -3.0 SD at lumbar spine, total hip, or femoral neck; prevalent vertebral fracture); (2) age 75+; and (3) intolerant or contraindicated to oral bisphosphonates (BPs). Analyses were conducted over a lifetime horizon comparing denosumab to usual care ('no therapy', alendronate, risedronate, or raloxifene [sub-group 3 only]). The analysis considered treatment-specific persistence and post-discontinuation residual efficacy, as well as treatment-specific adverse events. Both deterministic and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were conducted.
The multi-therapy comparisons resulted in incremental cost-effectiveness ratios for denosumab vs alendronate of $60,266 (2010 CDN$) (primary analysis) and $27,287 per quality-adjusted life year gained for scenario sub-group 1. Denosumab dominated all therapies in the remaining scenarios.
Key limitations include a lack of long-term, real-world, Canadian data on persistence with denosumab as well as an absence of head-to-head clinical data, leaving one to rely on meta-analyses based on trials comparing treatment to placebo.
Denosumab may be cost-effective compared to oral PMO treatments for women at high risk of fractures and those who are intolerant and/or contraindicated to oral BPs.