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Is IV iron sucrose a cost-effective option for treatment of severe anaemia in pregnancy as compared with oral iron?

  • Ray, Shomik1
  • Neogi, Sutapa B1
  • Singh, Ranjana1
  • Devasenapathy, Niveditha1
  • Zodpey, Sanjay1
  • 1 Indian Institute of Public Health Delhi, Public Health Foundation of India, Plot Number 47, Sector 44, Gurgaon 122002, India. , (India)
Published Article
Health Policy and Planning
Oxford University Press
Publication Date
Nov 24, 2020
DOI: 10.1093/heapol/czaa110
PMID: 33230561


Anaemia in pregnancy is a public health concern because it is strongly associated with maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality. An open label randomized controlled trial (RCT) was conducted in India across four government medical colleges, comparing intravenous (IV) iron sucrose and oral iron for the treatment of anaemia in pregnancy. This RCT failed to demonstrate superiority of IV iron sucrose compared with oral iron therapy in reducing adverse clinical (maternal and foetal/neonatal) outcomes in moderate-to-severe anaemia in pregnancy. However, IV iron sucrose seemed to reduce the need for blood transfusion among women with severe anaemia. The study objective was to conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis of IV iron sucrose over oral therapy for treatment of severe anaemia in pregnancy, alongside the RCT, to inform policy. The outcome of interest in our study was a 'safe delivery' defined by the absence of composite maternal and foetal/neonatal adverse clinical outcomes. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) was calculated from a limited societal perspective. IV iron sucrose was found to be more costly but more effective than the oral therapy for treatment of severe anaemia. The ICER was calculated at INR 31 951 (USD 445.2) per safe delivery. We considered a threshold of half the gross national income for decision-making. Considering this threshold of India (INR 57 230, USD 797.4), IV iron-sucrose remained cost-effective in 67% of the iterations in the model. At the current ICER, for every 32 severely anaemic pregnant woman treated with IV iron sucrose one additional pregnant woman will have a safe delivery. Such analyses can complement the national strategy to support evidence-based action. © The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press in association with The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: [email protected]

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