Abstract

Background Beta-blockers, used as an adjunctive to diuretics, digoxin and angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, improve survival in chronic heart failure. We report a prospectively planned economic analysis of the cost of adjunctive beta-blocker therapy in the second Cardiac Insufficiency BIsoprolol Study (CIBIS II).

Methods Resource utilization data (drug therapy, number of hospital admissions, length of hospital stay, ward type) were collected prospectively in all patients in CIBIS II. These data were used to determine the additional direct costs incurred, and savings made, with bisoprolol therapy. As well as the cost of the drug, additional costs related to bisoprolol therapy were added to cover the supervision of treatment initiation and titration (four outpatient clinic/office visits). Per diem (hospital bed day) costings were carried out for France, Germany and the U.K. Diagnosis related group costings were performed for France and the U.K. Our analyses took the perspective of a third party payer in France and Germany and the National Health Service in the U.K.

Results Overall, fewer patients were hospitalized in the bisoprolol group, there were fewer hospital admissions per patient hospitalized, fewer hospital admissions overall, fewer days spent in hospital and fewer days spent in the most expensive type of ward. As a consequence the cost of care in the bisoprolol group was 5–10% less in all three countries, in the per diem analysis, even taking into account the cost of bisoprolol and the extra initiation/up-titration visits. The cost per patient treated in the placebo and bisoprolol groups was FF35009 vs FF31762 in France, DM11563 vs DM10784 in Germany and £4987 vs £4722 in the U.K. The diagnosis related group analysis gave similar results.

Interpretation Not only did bisoprolol increase survival and reduce hospital admissions in CIBIS II, it also cut the cost of care in so doing. This ‘win–win’ situation of positive health benefits associated with cost savings is favourable from the point of view of both the patient and health care systems. These findings add further support for the use of beta-blockers in chronic heart failure.

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