Cost-effectiveness analysis of lumacaftor and ivacaftor combination for the treatment of patients with cystic fibrosis in the United States

Dolly Sharma, Shan Xing, Yu Ting Hung, Rachel N. Caskey, Maria L. Dowell, Daniel R. Touchette*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Lumacaftor/ivacaftor was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a combination treatment for Cystic Fibrosis (CF) patients who are homozygous for the F508del mutation. The objective of this study was to assess the cost-effectiveness of lumacaftor/ivacaftor combination for the treatment of CF homozygous for F508del CF Transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR) mutation. Methods: A Markov-state transition model following a cohort of 12 year-old CF patients homozygous for F508del CFTR mutation in the United States (US) over two, four, six, eight and ten years from a payer's perspective was developed using TreeAge Pro 2016. Markov states included: mild (percentage of predicted forced expiratory volume in 1 s or FEV1 > 70%), moderate (FEV1 40-70%), severe (FEV1 < 40%) disease, post-transplant, and death. Pulmonary exacerbation and lung transplant were included as transition states. All the input parameters were estimated from the literature. A 1-year cycle length and 3% discount rate were applied. To assess uncertainty in long-term treatment effects, several scenarios were modelled: 100% long-term effectiveness (base-case), defined as improvement in FEV1 in the first year followed by no annual FEV1 decline and a constant reduction in pulmonary exacerbations throughout, 75%, 50%, 25% and 0% (worst case) long-term effectiveness, where treatment effects were intermediate from the second year of treatment until the end of the time horizon. Other scenarios included changing the starting age of the cohort to 6 and 25 years. Primary outcome included incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) in terms of cost per quality adjusted life year (QALY) gained. One-way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were performed to determine uncertainty. Results: Under the base-case, Lumacaftor/ivacaftor resulted in higher QALYs (7.29 vs 6.84) but at a very high cost ($1,778,920.88) compared to usual care ($116,155.76) over a 10-year period. The ICER for base-case and worst-case scenarios were $3,655,352 / QALY, and $8,480,265/QALY gained, respectively. In the base-case, lumacaftor/ivacaftor was cost-effective at a threshold of $150,000/QALY-gained when annual drug costs were lower than $4153. The results were not substantially affected by the sensitivity analyses. Conclusions: The intervention produces large QALY gains but at an extremely high cost, resulting in an ICER that would not typically be covered by any insurer. Lumacaftor/ivacaftor's status as an orphan drug complicates coverage decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number172
JournalOrphanet journal of rare diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 29 2018


  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Ivacaftor
  • Lumacaftor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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