Cost Analysis of New Antibiotics to Treat Multidrug-Resistant Bacterial Infections: Mind the Gap

Infect Dis Ther. 2021 Feb 13. doi: 10.1007/s40121-021-00412-y. Online ahead of print.


INTRODUCTION: Guidelines for treatment of multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacteria rely on newly approved antibiotics, with limited evidence of their effectiveness for treating these infections. Data regarding cost of such an approach are lacking. We aimed to evaluate estimated cost of using newly approved antibiotic drugs compared to older antibiotics for the treatment of difficult-to-treat pathogens.

METHODS: MDR bacteria of interest included those defined by the World Health Organization as critical or of high priority for research. Old and newly approved antibiotics for these bacteria, defined as approved before or after January 2010, respectively, were evaluated for treatment cost and for 14-day treatment course. Estimated annual costs were calculated based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's' report on MDR bacteria prevalence in US hospitalized patients. Old and new drugs costs were compared.

RESULTS: The cost of a 14-day treatment course for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia with a newly approved drug was found to be 6 to 60 times higher than that of older drugs. Similarly, the cost of a 14-day course for carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales or MDR Pseudomonas aeruginosa was doubled with new drugs; and for carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii, ~ 20 times higher with newer drugs. Annual incremental costs of treating difficult-to-treat Gram-negative bacteria with new drugs ranged from 30 million to over 500 million USD.

CONCLUSIONS: Using newly approved antibiotic drugs for MDR infections carries a large incremental cost. Additional data to support survival benefit of these drugs are required to justify the price differences. Subgroups of patients who would benefit most from treatment should be defined.

PMID:33594649 | DOI:10.1007/s40121-021-00412-y