Thayer S, Bell C, McDonald CM. The Direct Cost of Managing a Rare Disease: Assessing Medical and Pharmacy Costs Associated with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in the United States. Journal of managed care & specialty pharmacy 2017;23:633-641
BACKGROUND: A Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) cohort was identified using a claims-based algorithm to estimate health care utilization and costs for commercially insured DMD patients in the United States. Previous analyses have used broad diagnosis codes that include a range of muscular dystrophy types as a proxy to estimate the burden of DMD.
OBJECTIVE: To estimate DMD-associated resource utilization and costs in a sample of patients identified via a claims-based algorithm using diagnosis codes, pharmacy prescriptions, and procedure codes unique to DMD management based on DMD clinical milestones.
METHODS: DMD patients were selected from a commercially insured claims database (2000-2009). Patients with claims suggestive of a non-DMD diagnosis or who were aged 30 years or older were excluded. Each DMD patient was matched by age, gender, and region to controls without DMD in a 1:10 ratio (DMD patients n = 75; controls n = 750). All-cause health care resource utilization, including emergency department, inpatient, outpatient, and physician office visits, and all-cause health care costs were examined over a minimum 1-year period. Costs were computed as total health-plan and patient-paid amounts of adjudicated medical claims (in annualized U.S. dollars). RESULTS: The average age of the DMD cohort was 13 years. Patients in the DMD cohort had a 10-fold increase in health care costs compared with controls ($23,005 vs. $2,277, P < 0.001). Health care costs were significantly higher for the DMD cohort across age strata and, in particular, for DMD patients aged 14-29 years ($40,132 vs. $2,746, P < 0.001).
CONCLUSIONS: In the United States, resource use and medical costs of DMD are substantial and increase with age.