BiDil Can Reduce Costs for Black Heart Failure Patients
A heart failure medication approved by FDA for use in blacks can reduce related health care costs by 34%, according to a study published on Tuesday in the journal Circulation, Reuters reports (Heavey, Reuters, 12/12).
For the study, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researchers analyzed data from a November 2004 study on the effectiveness of BiDil to determine how often patients made unscheduled physician visits or visits to hospital emergency departments and estimated costs based on Medicare data (Spice, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 12/13).
FDA in June approved BiDil, manufactured by Nitromed, for use in black heart failure patients based on the results of a study that found the medication reduced their risk for heart disease. BiDil is the first medication approved by FDA for use in a specific racial group (California Healthline, 6/24).
According to the new study, annual health care costs were 22% lower for participants who took BiDil than for those who took a placebo -- about $15,384 compared with $19,728 -- when the cost of the medication was excluded (Reuters, 12/12). Health care costs were $1,730 lower for participants who took BiDil when the cost of the medication was included, the study finds (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 12/13).
In addition, the study finds that participants who took BiDil in addition to standard treatment had an average of $5,997 in annual costs related to heart failure when the cost of the medication was excluded, compared with $9,144 for those who took a placebo (Reuters, 12/12).
Derek Angus, lead author of the study and professor of critical care medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, said that BiDil costs about $6 daily (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 12/13). The study is available online.