Cost-effectiveness of tafamidis therapy for transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy

Dhruv S. Kazi*, Brandon K. Bellows, Suzanne J. Baron, Changyu Shen, David J. Cohen, John A. Spertus, Robert W. Yeh, Suzanne V. Arnold, Brett W. Sperry, Mathew S. Maurer, Sanjiv J. Shah

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


Background: In patients with transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy, tafamidis reduces all-cause mortality and cardiovascular hospitalizations and slows decline in quality of life compared with placebo. In May 2019, tafamidis received expedited approval from the US Food and Drug Administration as a breakthrough drug for a rare disease. However, at $225 000 per year, it is the most expensive cardiovascular drug ever launched in the United States, and its long-term cost-effectiveness and budget impact are uncertain. We therefore aimed to estimate the cost-effectiveness of tafamidis and its potential effect on US health care spending. Methods: We developed a Markov model of patients with wild-type or variant transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy and heart failure (mean age, 74.5 years) using inputs from the ATTR-ACT trial (Transthyretin Amyloidosis Cardiomyopathy Clinical Trial), published literature, US Food and Drug Administration review documents, healthcare claims, and national survey data. We compared no disease-specific treatment ("usual care") with tafamidis therapy. The model reproduced 30-month survival, quality of life, and cardiovascular hospitalization rates observed in ATTR-ACT; future projections used a parametric survival model in the control arm, with constant hazards reduction in the tafamidis arm. We discounted future costs and quality-adjusted life-years by 3% annually and examined key parameter uncertainty using deterministic and probabilistic sensitivity analyses. The main outcomes were lifetime incremental cost-effectiveness ratio and annual budget impact, assessed from the US healthcare sector perspective. This study was independent of the ATTR-ACT trial sponsor. Results: Compared with usual care, tafamidis was projected to add 1.29 (95% uncertainty interval, 0.47-1.75) quality-adjusted life-years at an incremental cost of $1 135 000 (872 000-1 377 000), resulting in an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of $880 000 (697 000-1 564 000) per quality-adjusted life-year gained. Assuming a threshold of $100 000 per quality-adjusted life-year gained and current drug price, tafamidis was cost-effective in 0% of 10 000 probabilistic simulations. A 92.6% price reduction from $225 000 to $16 563 would be necessary to make tafamidis cost-effective at $100 000/quality-adjusted life-year. Results were sensitive to assumptions related to long-term effectiveness of tafamidis. Treating all eligible patients with transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy in the United States with tafamidis (n=120 000) was estimated to increase annual healthcare spending by $32.3 billion. Conclusions: Treatment with tafamidis is projected to produce substantial clinical benefit but would greatly exceed conventional cost-effectiveness thresholds at the current US list price. On the basis of recent US experience with high-cost cardiovascular medications, access to and uptake of this effective therapy may be limited unless there is a large reduction in drug costs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1214-1224
Number of pages11
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Amyloidosis
  • Cost-benefit analysis
  • Economics
  • Heart failure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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    Kazi, D. S., Bellows, B. K., Baron, S. J., Shen, C., Cohen, D. J., Spertus, J. A., Yeh, R. W., Arnold, S. V., Sperry, B. W., Maurer, M. S., & Shah, S. J. (Accepted/In press). Cost-effectiveness of tafamidis therapy for transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy. Circulation, 1214-1224.