Anti-VEGF has been a wonderful discovery for patients with AMD, as it prevents vision loss and can even produce visual gains lasting five years or more. A recent study shows anti-VEGF treatment, although costly, provides vast benefits for both the patient and society as a whole.

This economic evaluation study used data from published literature for a cohort of 168,820 AMD patients aged 65 years or older. The researchers translated the reported visual outcomes into economic variables to simulate the overall economic benefits of treatment. They assessed two current treatment regimens, more frequent injections (approximately 10 annually) and less frequent injections (approximately eight a year), and two innovation scenarios: improved adherence and best-case (100% initiating treatment with discontinuation rates below 6% per year or equivalent to clinical trial discontinuation).

Of the current treatment scenarios considered, the researchers found that administering more frequent injections generated more economic benefit—$1.6 billion in the first year and $8.2 billion in the second. The less frequent injection route generated $1.1 billion in year one and $5.1 billion in year three.

They also discovered that the three-year economic benefits ranged from $7.3 billion to $11.4 billion in the improved adherence scenario and from $9.7 billion to $15.0 billion in the best-case scenario.

The team added that societal value ranged from $0.9 billion to $3.0 billion across three years in the current treatment scenario and from $0.9 billion to $4.3 billion in the treatment innovation scenario, concluding that “future innovations that increase treatment utilization may result in added economic benefit.”

Mulligan K, Seabury SA, Dugel PU, et al. Economic value of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor treatment for patients with wet age-related macular degeneration in the United States. JAMA Ophthalmol. November 14, 2019. [Epub ahead of print].