Assessing Variation in the Cost of Palivizumab for Respiratory Syncytial Virus Prevention in Preterm Infants

from PharmacoEconomics – Open at on July 17, 2017 at 03:06PM



The variability in cost of palivizumab treatment, indicated for prevention of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infections in high-risk infants, has not been robustly estimated in prior studies. This study aimed to determine the cost variations of palivizumab from a US payer perspective for otherwise healthy preterm infants born 29–35 weeks gestational age (wGA) using infant characteristics and applied dosing regimens.


Fenton Growth Charts were merged with World Health Organization Child Growth Standards to estimate preterm infant growth patterns. The merged growth chart was applied to infants who received palivizumab from a prospective, observational registry to determine future body weight using each infant’s wGA and birth weight. Using quarter 3 (Q3) 2016–Q2 2017 vial cost, treatment costs at monthly dosing intervals were estimated using expected weights and averaged by age to derive expected mean 2016–2017 RSV seasonal costs per infant under various dosing scenarios.


Given different dosing scenarios (two to five doses), birth month, and growth patterns for preterm infants 29–35 wGA, the estimated average 2016–2017 seasonal cost of palivizumab treatment ranged from $3221 to $12,568. Outpatient-only cost (excluding first dose at hospital discharge) ranged from $1733 to $11,862. The main drivers of costs were dosing regimen (74% of variance), dosing interacted with birth month (17%), and wGA (6%).


The considerable variability in the average cost of palivizumab treatment for preterm infants is driven by choice of dosing regimen, wGA, and birth month. Therefore, when estimating the cost of palivizumab, it is important to consider both infant characteristics at each dose and potential dosing regimens.