The economic evaluation of the FIRST study: design of a prospective analysis alongside a multinational phase III clinical trial. Flolan International Randomized Survival Trial.
Prospective economic assessments of new pharmaceutical therapies are increasingly being incorporated into phase III clinical trials. We report on the design of an economic evaluation integrated into the Flolan International Randomized Survival Trial (FIRST). Economic evaluation was considered a critical component of the assessment of this therapy given the resources required to administer epoprostenol (Flolan), a therapy that would require lifelong continuous intravenous infusion. Economic secondary endpoints were incorporated in the clinical trial. The economic evaluation of the treatment was integrated into all aspects of study development, including study design, implementation, and monitoring. Since this was a multinational trial, special care was required to ensure that the protocol design was appropriate for all study countries. The economic assessment required the development of several methodologic components: a set of background economic concepts to guide protocol development, a set of resource items to be recorded when required for study participants; a set of data collection instruments for assessment of health-related quality of life for study patients; and a protocol for a resource costing exercise for the study. We report the data elements included in the study design, as well as a discussion of some of the issues faced in developing the economic evaluation for this trial.
Schulman, KA; Glick, H; Buxton, M; Sculpher, M; Backhouse, M; Bell, L; Eisenberg, JM
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