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1.  Burden of Diabetes Mellitus Estimated with a Longitudinal Population-Based Study Using Administrative Databases 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e113741.
To assess the epidemiologic and economic burden of diabetes mellitus (DM) from a longitudinal population-based study.
Research Design and Methods
Lombardy Region includes 9.9 million individuals. Its DM population was identified through a data warehouse (DENALI), which matches with a probabilistic linkage demographic, clinical and economic data of different Healthcare Administrative databases. All individuals, who, during the year 2000 had an hospital discharge with a IDC-9 CM code 250.XX, and/or two consecutive prescriptions of drugs for diabetes (ATC code A10XXXX) within one year, and/or an exemption from co-payment healthcare costs specific for DM, were selected and followed up to 9 years. We calculated prevalence, mortality and healthcare costs (hospitalizations, drugs and outpatient examinations/visits) from the National Health Service’s perspective.
We identified 312,223 eligible subjects. The study population (51% male) had a mean age of 66 (from 0.03 to 105.12) years at the index date. Prevalence ranged from 0.4% among subjects aged ≤45 years to 10.1% among those >85 years old. Overall 43.4 deaths per 1,000 patients per year were estimated, significantly (p<0.001) higher in men than women. Overall, 3,315€/patient-year were spent on average: hospitalizations were the cost driver (54.2% of total cost). Drugs contributed to 31.5%, outpatient claims represented 14.3% of total costs. Thirty-five percent of hospital costs were attributable to cerebro−/cardiovascular reasons, 6% to other complications of DM, and 4% to DM as a main diagnosis. Cardiovascular drugs contributed to 33.5% of total drug costs, 21.8% was attributable to class A (16.7% to class A10) and 4.3% to class B (2.4% to class B01) drugs.
Merging different administrative databases can provide with many data from large populations observed for long time periods. DENALI shows to be an efficient instrument to obtain accurate estimates of burden of diseases such as diabetes mellitus.
PMCID: PMC4254751  PMID: 25470484
2.  XALIA: rationale and design of a non-interventional study of rivaroxaban compared with standard therapy for initial and long-term anticoagulation in deep vein thrombosis 
Thrombosis Journal  2014;12:16.
Venous thromboembolism (VTE), comprising deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism, poses a substantial clinical risk, and the incidence of these thrombotic-related diseases remains high. Anticoagulation aims to prevent thrombus extension and reduce the risk of recurrent events, particularly fatal pulmonary embolism. In EINSTEIN DVT, rivaroxaban was non-inferior to enoxaparin/vitamin K antagonists for the reduction of recurrent VTE, with a similar safety profile and a net clinical benefit. EINSTEIN EXT investigated patients receiving long-term treatment in whom there was no clear decision about continuing or stopping anticoagulation; rivaroxaban was superior to placebo in the reduction of recurrent VTE, showing an acceptable benefit–risk balance. Rivaroxaban has the potential to replace standard therapy, usually parenteral low molecular weight heparin overlapping with and followed by a vitamin K antagonist, for the treatment of acute symptomatic DVT and the secondary prevention of VTE. As the use of rivaroxaban for DVT treatment increases in clinical practice, a fundamental understanding of its clinical benefits in everyday patient care is essential. XALIA (XArelto for Long-term and Initial Anticoagulation in venous thromboembolism) is a multicentre, prospective, non-interventional, observational study investigating the effectiveness and safety of a single-drug approach with rivaroxaban compared with standard therapy in patients with DVT. The study cohort will include approximately 4800 patients (≥18 years old) with objectively confirmed acute DVT who will be treated for a period of ≥3 months. The primary outcomes will be the incidence of treatment-emergent adverse events (primarily major bleeding), symptomatic recurrent venous thromboembolic events and all-cause mortality. Secondary outcomes include: major cardiovascular events; patient-reported treatment satisfaction and adherence; healthcare resource utilization; reasons for drug switching or interruption of treatment; and adverse events. XALIA will follow an international cohort of patients in more than 20 European countries, and others including Israel and Canada. The first patient was enrolled in June 2012, with results expected in 2015. It is anticipated that XALIA will provide important information on the treatment of DVT in a heterogeneous, unselected patient population in a real-world setting and provide important supplementary information to that obtained from the EINSTEIN DVT phase III study.
PMCID: PMC4120724  PMID: 25093014
Deep vein thrombosis; Outcomes; Real-world experience; Rivaroxaban
3.  The Clinical and Economic Impact of Exacerbations of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: A Cohort of Hospitalized Patients 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e101228.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is a common disease with significant health and economic consequences. This study assesses the burden of COPD in the general population, and the influence of exacerbations (E-COPD) on disease progression and costs.
This is a secondary data analysis of healthcare administrative databases of the region of Lombardy, in northern Italy. The study included ≥ 40 year-old patients hospitalized for a severe E-COPD (index event) during 2006. Patients were classified in relation to the number and type of E-COPD experienced in a three-year pre-index period. Subjects were followed up until December 31st, 2009, collecting data on healthcare resource use and vital status.
15857 patients were enrolled –9911 males, mean age: 76 years (SD 10). Over a mean follow-up time of 2.4 years (1.36), 81% of patients had at least one E-COPD with an annual rate of 3.2 exacerbations per person-year and an all-cause mortality of 47%. A history of exacerbation influenced the occurrence of new E-COPD and mortality after discharge for an E-COPD. On average, the healthcare system spent 6725€ per year per person (95%CI 6590–6863). Occurrence and type of exacerbations drove the direct healthcare cost. Less than one quarter of patients presented claims for pulmonary function tests.
COPD imposes a substantial burden on healthcare systems, mainly attributable to the type and occurrence of E-COPD, or in other words, to the exacerbator phenotypes. A more tailored approach to the management of COPD patients is required.
PMCID: PMC4074190  PMID: 24971791
4.  The social burden and quality of life of patients with haemophilia in Italy 
Blood Transfusion  2014;12(Suppl 3):s567-s575.
In Italy, the project on the social burden and quality of life (QoL) of patients with haemophilia investigates costs from a society perspective and provides an overview of their quality of life. Moreover, as life expectancy increased in recent years along with new treatment strategies implemented in the last decades, it analyses trends of costs other than drugs simulating impacts during patient whole life.
Material and methods
We ran a web-based cross-sectional survey supported by the Italian Federation of Haemophilia Societies in recruiting patients with haemophilia and their caregivers. We developed a questionnaire to collect information on demographic characteristics, healthcare and social services consumption, formal and informal care utilisation, productivity loss and quality of life. In particular, quality of life was assessed through the EuroQoL tool. Last, we applied the illness cost method from a society perspective.
On average, quality of life is worse in adult patients compared to child and caregivers: more than 75% of adult patients declare physical problems, 43% of adult patients and 54% of their parents have anxiety problems. Assuming a society perspective, the estimated mean annual total cost per patient in 2012 is 117,732 €. Drugs represent 92% of total costs. Focusing on costs other than drugs, each additional point of EuroQoL tool implies a costs’ reduction of 279 €. The impact of age varies across age groups: each added year implies a total decrease of costs up to 46.6 years old. Afterwards, every additional year increases costs.
Quality of life of patients with haemophilia and their caregivers improved and it influences positively on consumed resources and on their contribution to the social-economic system. Costs other than drugs for patients with haemophilia follow the same trends of general population.
PMCID: PMC4044804  PMID: 24922297
quality of life; cost of illness; haemophilia
5.  Uncovered needs in the management of inherited bleeding disorders in Italy 
Blood Transfusion  2014;12(Suppl 3):s563-s566.
PMCID: PMC4044811  PMID: 24922296
haemophilia; Comprehensive Care Centre; Haemophilia Treatment Centre
6.  The importance of baseline viral load when assessing relative efficacy in treatment-naïve HBeAg-positive chronic hepatitis B: a systematic review and network meta-analysis 
Systematic Reviews  2014;3:21.
To date no network meta-analysis (NMA) has accounted for baseline variations in viral load when assessing the relative efficacy of interventions for chronic hepatitis B (CHB). We undertook baseline-adjusted and unadjusted analyses using the same data to explore the impact of baseline viral load (BVL) on CHB treatment response.
We searched Embase, Medline, Medline in Process and the Cochrane CENTRAL databases for randomised clinical trials (RCTs) of monotherapy interventions at licensed doses for use in CHB. Search strategies comprised CHB disease and drug terms (a combination of controlled vocabulary and free text terms) and also a bespoke RCT filter.
The NMA was undertaken in WinBUGs using fixed and random effects methods, using data obtained from a systematic review. Individual patient data (IPD) from an entecavir clinical trial were used to quantify the impact of different baseline characteristics (in particular undetectable viral load (UVL) at 1 year) on relative treatment effect. Study level mean baseline values from all identified studies were used. Results were generated for UVL and presented as relative risks (RRs) and 95% credible intervals (CrIs) using entecavir as reference treatment.
Overall, for all eight relevant interventions we identified 3,000 abstracts. Following full text review a total of 35 (including the contents of six clinical study reports) met the inclusion critera; 19 were in hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-positive patients and 14 of the 19 contained outcome information of relevance to the NMA.
Entecavir and tenofovir studies had heterogeneous patient populations in terms of BVL (mean values 9.29 and 8.65 log10 copies/ml respectively). After adjusting UVL for BVL using an informative prior based on the IPD analysis, the difference between entecavir and tenofovir was not statistically significant (RR 1.27, 95% CrI 0.96 to 1.47 - fixed effects). A similar conclusion was found in all sensitivity analyses. Adjusted tenofovir results were more consistent with observed clinical trial response rates.
This study demonstrates the importance of adjusting for BVL when assessing the relative efficacy of CHB interventions in achieving UVL. This has implications for both clinical and economic decision making.
PMCID: PMC4015714  PMID: 24602249
Network meta-analysis; Relative efficacy; Systematic review; Virologic response; Entecavir
7.  KRAS Early Testing: Consensus Initiative and Cost-Effectiveness Evaluation for Metastatic Colorectal Patients in an Italian Setting 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e85897.
KRAS testing is relevant for the choice of the most appropriate first-line therapy of metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC). Strategies for preventing unequal access to the test should be implemented, but their relevance in the practice is related to economic sustainability. The study adopted the Delphi technique to reach a consensus on several topics. Issues related to execution of KRAS testing were identified by an expert’s board and proposed to 108 Italian oncologists and pathologists through two subsequent questionnaires. The emerging proposal was evaluated by decision analyses models employed by technology assessment agencies in order to assess cost-effectiveness. Alternative therapeutic strategies included most commonly used chemotherapy regimens alone or in combination with cetuximab or bevacizumab. The survey indicated that time interval for obtaining KRAS test should not exceed 15 days, 10 days being an optimal interval. To assure the access to proper treatment, a useful strategy should be to anticipate the test after radical resection in patients at high risk of relapse. Early KRAS testing in high risk CRC patients generates incremental cost-effectiveness ratios between 6,000 and 13,000 Euro per quality adjusted life year (QALY) gained. In extensive sensitivity analyses ICER’s were always below 15,000 Euro per QALY gained, far within the threshold of 60,000 Euro/QALY gained accepted by regulatory institutions in Italy. In metastatic CRC a time interval higher than 15 days for result of KRAS testing limits access to therapeutic choices. Anticipating KRAS testing before the onset of metastatic disease in patients at high risk does not affect the sustainability and cost-effectiveness profile of cetuximab in first-line mCRC. Early KRAS testing may prevent this inequality in high-risk patients, whether they develop metastases, and is a cost-effective strategy. Based on these results, present joined recommendations of Italian societies of Oncology and Pathology should be updated including early KRAS testing.
PMCID: PMC3896423  PMID: 24465771
9.  Long Term Evaluation of the Impact of Autologous Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplantation in Multiple Myeloma: A Cost-Effectiveness Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e75047.
High-dose therapy with autologous peripheral stem cell transplantation represents today the standard approach for younger multiple myeloma patients. This study aimed to evaluate the long term economic impact of autologous transplantation with respect to conventional therapy.
We retrospectively reviewed the charts of multiple myeloma patients diagnosed at our department between 1986 and 2003 and treated according to the therapy considered standard at the time of diagnosis. Analysis of costs was done by assessing resource utilization and direct costs were measured and monetized before proceeding with the analysis, based on public health service tariffs.
Group A including 78 patients treated with Melphalan and Prednisone was compared with Group B including 74 patients who received an autologous transplant. The median overall survival was 3.2 and 5.4 years respectively (p = 0.0002). Mean cost per patient was significantly higher in group B with respect to group A (102373€ vs 23825€; p<0.001). The final quality-adjusted-life-year gain in group B patients as compared to group A was 1.73 QALY, with an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of 45460€. With a threshold of 75000€ per QALY gained, the cost effectiveness acceptability curve indicated that the probability that autologous transplantation in multiple myeloma is a cost-effective intervention is 90%.
The cost of autologous transplantation remains high. The calculated incremental cost-effectiveness ratio, however, given the significant prolongation of overall survival obtained with autologous transplantation, is within an acceptable threshold. Notwithstanding, its high cost should be taken into account when considering the whole cost of multiple myeloma.
PMCID: PMC3787096  PMID: 24098678
10.  Present and future challenges in the treatment of haemophilia: the patient’s perspective 
Blood Transfusion  2013;11(Suppl 4):s82-s85.
PMCID: PMC3853977  PMID: 24333318
haemophilia treatment; factor VIII demand; comprehensive care; sustainability
11.  Risk Profiles and Antithrombotic Treatment of Patients Newly Diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation at Risk of Stroke: Perspectives from the International, Observational, Prospective GARFIELD Registry 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(5):e63479.
Limited data are available on the characteristics, clinical management, and outcomes of patients with atrial fibrillation at risk of stroke, from a worldwide perspective. The aim of this study was to describe the baseline characteristics and initial therapeutic management of patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation across the spectrum of sites at which these patients are treated.
Methods and Findings
The Global Anticoagulant Registry in the FIELD (GARFIELD) is an observational study of patients newly diagnosed with non-valvular atrial fibrillation. Enrollment into Cohort 1 (of 5) took place between December 2009 and October 2011 at 540 sites in 19 countries in Europe, Asia-Pacific, Central/South America, and Canada. Investigator sites are representative of the distribution of atrial fibrillation care settings in each country. Cohort 1 comprised 10,614 adults (≥18 years) diagnosed with non-valvular atrial fibrillation within the previous 6 weeks, with ≥1 investigator-defined stroke risk factor (not limited to those in existing risk-stratification schemes), and regardless of therapy. Data collected at baseline included demographics, medical history, care setting, nature of atrial fibrillation, and treatments initiated at diagnosis. The mean (SD) age of the population was 70.2 (11.2) years; 43.2% were women. Mean±SD CHADS2 score was 1.9±1.2, and 57.2% had a score ≥2. Mean CHA2DS2-VASc score was 3.2±1.6, and 8,957 (84.4%) had a score ≥2. Overall, 38.0% of patients with a CHADS2 score ≥2 did not receive anticoagulant therapy, whereas 42.5% of those at low risk (score 0) received anticoagulant therapy.
These contemporary observational worldwide data on non-valvular atrial fibrillation, collected at the end of the vitamin K antagonist-only era, indicate that these drugs are frequently not being used according to stroke risk scores and guidelines, with overuse in patients at low risk and underuse in those at high risk of stroke.
Trial Registration TRI08888
PMCID: PMC3660389  PMID: 23704912
12.  Compliance, persistence, costs and quality of life in young patients treated with antipsychotic drugs: results from the COMETA study 
BMC Psychiatry  2013;13:98.
Little data is available on the real-world socio-economic burden and outcomes in schizophrenia. This study aimed to assess persistence, compliance, costs and Health-Related Quality-of-Life (HRQoL) in young patients undergoing antipsychotic treatment according to clinical practice.
A naturalistic, longitudinal, multicentre cohort study was conducted: we involved 637 patients aged 18–40 years, with schizophrenia or schizophreniform disorder diagnosed ≤10 years before, enrolled in 86 Italian Mental Health Centres and followed-up for 1 year. Comparisons were conducted between naïve (i.e., patients visiting the centre for the first time and starting a new treatment regimen) and non naïve patients.
At enrolment, 84% of patients were taking atypical drugs, 3.7% typical, 10% a combination of the two classes, and 2% were untreated. During follow-up, 23% of patients switched at least once to a different class of treatment, a combination or no treatment. The mean Drug-Attitude-Inventory score was 43.4, with 94.3% of the patients considered compliant by the clinicians. On average, medical costs at baseline were 390.93€/patient-month, mostly for drug treatment (29.5%), psychotherapy (29.2%), and hospitalizations (27.1%). Patients and caregivers lost 3.5 days/patient-month of productivity. During follow-up, attitude toward treatment remained fairly similar, medical costs were generally stable, while productivity, clinical statusand HRQoL significantly improved. While no significantly different overall direct costs trends were found between naïve and non naïve patients, naïve patients showed generally a significant mean higher improvement of clinical outcomes, HRQoL and indirect costs, compared to the others.
Our results suggest how tailoring the treatment strategy according to the complex and specific patient needs make it possible to achieve benefits and to allocate more efficiently resources. This study can also provide information on the most relevant items to be considered when conducting cost-effectiveness studies comparing specific alternatives for the treatment of target patients.
PMCID: PMC3621844  PMID: 23522406
Schizophrenia; Medication compliance; Persistence; Cost of illness; Quality of life
13.  The use of individual patient-level data (IPD) to quantify the impact of pretreatment predictors of response to treatment in chronic hepatitis B patients 
BMJ Open  2013;3(1):e001309.
Evidence synthesis is an integral part decision-making by reimbursement agencies. When direct evidence is not available, network-meta-analysis (NMA) techniques are commonly used. This approach assumes that the trials are sufficiently similar in terms of treatment-effect modifiers. When imbalances in potential treatment-effect modifiers exist, the NMA approach may not produce fair comparisons. The objective of this study was to identify and quantify the interaction between treatment-effect and potential treatment-effect modifiers, including time-of-response measurement and baseline viral load in chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients.
Retrospective patient-level data econometric analysis.
1353 individuals from two randomised controlled trials of nucleoside-naïve CHB taking 0.5 mg entecavir (n=679) or 100 mg lamivudine (n=668) daily for 48 weeks.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA levels for both drugs were measured at baseline and weeks 24, 36 and 48. Generalised estimating equation for repeated binary responses was used to identify treatment-effect modifiers for response defined at ≤400 or ≤300 copies/ml.
Primary outcome measures
OR at 48 weeks.
The OR for the time-of-response measurement and treatment-effect interaction term was 1.039 (p=0.00) and 1.035 (p=0.00) when response was defined at ≤400 or ≤300 copies/ml, respectively. The baseline HBV DNA and treatment-effect interaction OR was 0.94 (p=0.047) and 0.95 (p=0.096), respectively, for the two response definitions suggesting evidence of interaction between baseline disease activity and treatment effect. The interaction between HBeAg status and treatment effect was not statistically significant.
The measurement time point seems to modify the relative treatment effect of entacavir compared to lamivudine, measured on the OR scale. Evidence also suggested that differences in baseline viral load may also alter relative treatment effect. Meta-analyses should account for such modifiers when generating relative efficacy estimates.
PMCID: PMC3563125  PMID: 23355658
Chronic Hepatitis B; Treatment effect modifiers; Baseline characteristics; Baraclude; CHB; Statistical analyses
14.  Prevention of pneumococcal diseases in the post-seven valent vaccine era: A European perspective 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2012;12:207.
The burden of invasive pneumococcal disease in young children decreased dramatically following introduction of the 7-valent pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV7). The epidemiology of S. pneumoniae now reflects infections caused by serotypes not included in PCV7. Recently introduced higher valency pneumococcal vaccines target the residual burden of invasive and non-invasive infections, including those caused by serotypes not included in PCV7. This review is based on presentations made at the European Society of Pediatric Infectious Diseases in June 2011.
Surveillance data show increased circulation of the non-PCV7 vaccine serotypes 1, 3, 6A, 6C, 7 F and 19A in countries with routine vaccination. Preliminary evidence suggests that broadened serotype coverage offered by higher valency vaccines may be having an effect on invasive disease caused by some of those serotypes, including 19A, 7 F and 6C. Aetiology of community acquired pneumonia remains a difficult clinical diagnosis. However, recent reports indicate that pneumococcal vaccination has reduced hospitalisations of children for vaccine serotype pneumonia. Variations in serotype circulation and occurrence of complicated and non-complicated pneumonia caused by non-PCV7 serotypes highlight the potential of higher valency vaccines to decrease the remaining burden. PCVs reduce nasopharyngeal carriage and acute otitis media (AOM) caused by vaccine serotypes. Recent investigations of the interaction between S. pneumoniae and non-typeable H. influenzae suggest that considerable reduction in severe, complicated AOM infections may be achieved by prevention of early pneumococcal carriage and AOM infections. Extension of the vaccine serotype spectrum beyond PCV7 may provide additional benefit in preventing the evolution of AOM. The direct and indirect costs associated with pneumococcal disease are high, thus herd protection and infections caused by non-vaccine serotypes both have strong effects on the cost effectiveness of pneumococcal vaccination. Recent evaluations highlight the public health significance of indirect benefits, prevention of pneumonia and AOM and coverage of non-PCV7 serotypes by higher valency vaccines.
Routine vaccination has greatly reduced the burden of pneumococcal diseases in children. The pneumococcal serotypes present in the 7-valent vaccine have greatly diminished among disease isolates. The prevalence of some non-vaccine serotypes (e.g. 1, 7 F and 19A) has increased. Pneumococcal vaccines with broadened serotype coverage are likely to continue decreasing the burden of invasive disease, and community acquired pneumonia in children. Further reductions in pneumococcal carriage and increased prevention of early AOM infections may prevent the evolution of severe, complicated AOM. Evaluation of the public health benefits of pneumococcal conjugate vaccines should include consideration of non-invasive pneumococcal infections, indirect effects of vaccination and broadened serotype coverage.
PMCID: PMC3462147  PMID: 22954038
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine; Invasive pneumococcal disease; Community-acquired pneumonia; Acute otitis media; Vaccine serotype coverage; Epidemiology-incidence
15.  Rationale and design of XAMOS: noninterventional study of rivaroxaban for prophylaxis of venous thromboembolism after major hip and knee surgery 
Venous thromboembolism is a frequent and potentially life-threatening complication of orthopedic surgery. Rivaroxaban is an oral direct factor Xa inhibitor, which was shown to be effective for the prevention of venous thromboembolism after elective hip and knee arthroplasty in the RECORD study program. Rivaroxaban has the potential to overcome the limitations of the current standards of care in the prevention of venous thromboembolism. XAMOS (Xarelto® in the prophylaxis of post-surgical venous thromboembolism after elective major orthopedic surgery of hip or knee) is an international, noninterventional, parallel-group study to gain insight into the safety (major bleeding, side effects) and effectiveness (prevention of symptomatic thromboembolic events) of rivaroxaban in daily clinical practice. XAMOS will follow 15,000 patients after major orthopedic surgery in approximately 200 centers worldwide, with about 7500 patients receiving rivaroxaban and about 7500 standard of care. XAMOS will supplement the clinical data obtained in the Phase III RECORD 1, 2, 3, and 4 trials in which rivaroxaban was shown to be superior for the primary efficacy endpoints, and with a safety profile similar to that of enoxaparin after hip or knee replacement surgery. XAMOS was started in 2009 and will complete recruitment and follow-up in 2011.
PMCID: PMC3373318  PMID: 22701330
rivaroxaban; venous thromboembolism; effectiveness; oral anticoagulation

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