Aims: To estimate the impact of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) agents on visual impairment and blindness avoided in patients with diabetic macular edema (DME) and on associated patient and caregiver productivity loss in Japan. Methods: This study compared the impact of current care (estimated at 53.8% utilization of anti-VEGF agents using current data) with that of hypothetical care (characterized by a higher utilization of anti-VEGF agents [80.0%], as estimated by an expert panel) of DME patients. A population-based Markov model (two-eye approach) simulated visual acuity (Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study [ETDRS] letters) transitions over 5 years with DME treatments (intravitreal aflibercept, ranibizumab, and triamcinolone acetonide, and grid/focal laser) in patients with DME. Patient and caregiver productivity loss was determined using the human capital method. Results: In total, 570,000 DME patients were included in the model over 5 years. Increased utilization of anti-VEGF agents resulted in 6,659 fewer cases of severe visual impairment (SVI; 26–35 ETDRS letters) or blindness (0–25 ETDRS letters) compared with the current care approach (26,023 vs 32,682 cases; 20.38% reduction) over this period. Increased utilization of anti-VEGF agents also contributed to productivity loss savings of ¥12.58 billion (US $115.64 million) (i.e., 17.01%) at the end of year 5. The total overall saving over 5 years was ¥45.83 billion (US $421.27 million) (13.45%). Limitations: Few Japanese data were available, and assumptions were made for some inputs. Vision changes dependent on the function of both eyes were not studied. Only intravitreal (not sub-Tenon’s) injections of triamcinolone were considered in this model. Direct costs were not considered. Conclusions: Increased utilization of anti-VEGF agents can reduce SVI and legal blindness in patients with DME in Japan. This would also be associated with substantial savings in patient and caregiver productivity loss.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy