New kidney disease drug saves lives at low cost

November 30, 2005

A recent study has found that sevelamer (Renagel®) is having a positive long term clinical and economic effect when used on hemodialysis patients. This study, undertaken by the Caro Research Institute in Concord, MA and published in Value in Health, examined the long-term consequences associated with one year of sevelamer use.

"The safety and efficacy of sevelamer and its ability to attenuate the progression of calcification have been well documented in a seminal clinical study, but the study was not designed to assess the longer-term implications," says Krista Huybrechts who led the study.

Huybrechts' team developed a simulation model based on the best available evidence to date, and estimated that in the long-term, patients on sevelamer have a 12% lower cardiovascular risk than those on calcium binders. The cost savings accrued due to avoiding cardiovascular events largely offset the higher drug cost, leading to a very favorable cost-effectiveness ratio of about $2,200 of increased cost per life year gained.

The results of this study now allow health policy makers and payers to understand the value of sevelamer in the long-term where it could not have been done from the clinical study alone.

Close to 500,000 Americans suffer from Stage V chronic kidney disease (CKD) and have a 10-20 times higher risk of cardiovascular mortality than the general population.
This study is published in Value in Health. Media who wish to receive a PDF of this article may contact Kathleen Mulcahy at

Krista Huybrechts, MS, is a Senior Researcher at the Caro Research Institute in Concord, MA, USA, which specializes in epidemiology and health economics. Prior to joining Caro Research in 1997, Krista held several positions in health economics/outcomes research at the worldwide headquarters of Janssen Pharmaceutica (J&J) in Belgium. Much of her work in recent years has focused on quantifying the clinical and economic implications of vascular calcifications in patients with ESRD. She can be reached for questions or interviews at 978-371-1660 ext 151 (Monday through Wednesday) or

About Value in Health
As the official publication of the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR), Value in Health provides a scientific forum for communicating health economics and outcomes research methods and findings, furthering ISPOR's vision that "society allocate scarce health care resources wisely, fairly, and efficiently." It is a multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal reporting on evaluations of medical technologies including pharmaceuticals, biologics, devices, procedures, and other health care interventions.

About Blackwell Publishing
Blackwell Publishing is the world's leading society publisher, partnering with more than 600 academic and professional societies. Blackwell publishes over 750 journals annually and, to date has published close to 6,000 text and reference books, across a wide range of academic, medical, and professional subjects.

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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