Monday, June 9, 2014

ASCO: The Economic Value of Rituxan

My goodness. I looked at the blog this afternoon and realized I'm coming close to a week since my last post. I use the excuse all the time, but I really have been busy. Work hasn't slowed down much, and  physical therapy for my shoulder is not only ongoing, but getting more intense, so I'm doing about 2 hours in the middle of the afternoon, three days a week. The good news is that the therapy seems to be working. I saw the surgeon last week, and he was pleased with the strength gains I've been making.

The bad news is that physical therapy takes away a big part of my day -- the part that I used to use for reading up about Follicular Lymphoma. Even something as exciting as the ASCO conference (which has been over for a week now) gets lost in the sea of other responsibilities.

It's not good for me, this neglecting of my Follicular Lymphoma blogging duties. I like to think it's not good for you, either, but mostly it's not good for me. I need this.

I've been sitting on this piece from ASCO for over a week: "What is the economic value created by adding rituximab to chemotherapy in the United States from 1998 to 2013?"

Sounds kind of cool, doesn't it? We like to think that our lives all have some value, but what if some statistics folks figured out just how much value was created by adding Rituxan to chemotherapy?

The short answer is: from 1998 to 2013, adding Rituxan to chemo saved 280,819 life years in patients with Follicular Lymphoma, DLBCL, and CLL. The value of a life year is $90,941, so the total economic value of all of those life years saved was about $18.5 billion. Rituxan cost about $7 billion,
but it saved about $25.5 billion, which brings us to the $18.5 billion.

It's a heck of an argument for the value of Rituxan, as if we needed another one.

I had hoped to do a little research on this. Like, where did that $90,000 figure come from in figuring out the value of a life year? What is "Monte Carlo sampling?" How does economic value play out in real life? Al of that might have made for more interesting writing, I think.

Alas, I have no time nor energy.

I started thinking, maybe it's more than just a lack of time. Maybe I'm so far out from my last treatment -- over 4 years -- that I'm getting lazy, and Follicular Lymphoma doesn't worry me so much any more.

But then I thought, well, don't wish for something to worry about, especially when you have a scan scheduled for a couple of weeks from now. No need to get silly about this.....

So I'll try to do better about getting back to my schedule of posting every 2-3 days. It's good for me. As good as 2 hours of physical therapy on my shoulder, most definitely.


Anonymous said...

You still have scans? My Onc told me they aren't necessary unless blood work or other "B" symptoms deem in necessary. I'm over 7 years in CR or NED.

Lymphomaniac said...

I think my onc feels pretty much the same way -- they aren't necessary unless we have something that tells us so. Which is why I haven't had one in 3 years. But I've been asking for one for one, and I think if hadn't asked, he'd just let it go. I'm curious about what's going on inside.
Congratulations on the 7 years, by thye way. May it contnue....