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Inequalities in pharmacologic treatment of spasticity in Sweden – health economic consequences of closing the treatment gap

  • Forsmark, Annabelle1
  • Rosengren, Linda2
  • Ertzgaard, Per3, 4
  • 1 PharmaLex, Göteborg, Sweden , Göteborg (Sweden)
  • 2 Ipsen, Kista, Sweden , Kista (Sweden)
  • 3 Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden , Linköping (Sweden)
  • 4 Linköping University Hospital, Linköping, Sweden , Linköping (Sweden)
Published Article
Health Economics Review
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Publication Date
Feb 07, 2020
DOI: 10.1186/s13561-020-0261-7
Springer Nature


BackgroundThe Swedish Healthcare Act states that patients should have equal access to healthcare. This study addresses at how this translates to pharmacological treatment of adult spasticity, including injections with botulinum toxin A (BoNT-A) and pumps for intrathecal baclofen (ITB). To address potential economic incentives for treatment differences, the results are also set into a health economic perspective.Thus, the current study provides a detailed and comprehensive overview for informed decision- and policymaking.MethodsBotulinum toxin use was retrieved from sales data. Clinical practice regarding mean BoNT-A treatment dose and proportion used for spasticity indication were validated in five county councils, while the number of ITB pumps were mapped for all county councils. Published costs and quality of life data was used for estimating required responder rates for cost-balance or cost-effectiveness.ResultsThe proportion of patients treated with BoNT-A varied between 5.8% and 13.6% across healthcare regions, with a mean of 9.2% on a national level. The reported number of ITB pumps per 100,000 inhabitants varied between 3.6 and 14.1 across healthcare regions, with a national mean of 6/100,000.The estimated incremental cost for reaching treatment equity was EUR 1,976,773 per year for BoNT-A and EUR 3,326,692 for ITB pumps. Based on expected cost-savings, responder rates ranging between 4% and 15% cancelled out the incremental cost for BoNT-A. Assuming no cost-savings, responder rates of 14% or 36% was required for cost-effectiveness.ConclusionsThere is a marked variation in pharmacologic treatment of adult spasticity in Sweden. Overall, the results indicate an underuse of treatment and need for harmonisation of clinical practice. Furthermore, the incremental cost for reaching treatment equity is likely to be offset by spasticity-associated cost-savings.

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