Limitations and Challenges of Conducting Budget Impact Analyses in Rare Diseases: A Case Study of Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (Editor's Choice)



There are challenges in conducting a budget impact analysis (BIA) for rare disorders. Through this case study, we present some challenges and limitations of a BIA of managing patients affected with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD). We explored a conceptual basis and barriers for health services researchers interested in quantifying budget impacts of rare disease management program (DMP).


We developed a static budget impact cost calculator model in Microsoft Excel, obtaining the clinical impact of a DMP from the literature and translating it into costs using OLDW. Cost inputs and resource use was obtained from 2010 to 2015 claims data using the OLDW. Insurers’ payments were calculated and categorized into the following cost buckets: physician visits, emergency room visits, inpatients stays, augmentation therapy, other prescription drugs costs, and other costs.


Data were based on 6832 patients with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency identified among over 21 million OLDW enrollees observed between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2015. The introduction of a DMP was estimated to decrease costs of the management of patients with alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency by $13.5 million over 5 years. The savings attributed to the program over the 5-year time horizon are due to 2555 exacerbations, 5180 emergency room visits, 9342 specialist visits, and 105 358 general practitioner visits avoided.


A comprehensive DMP for a rare condition might provide cost savings to a health plan. BIAs for rare disease may be more informative if they focus on DMPs rather than on individual drugs.


Juan-David Rueda Jan Sieluk Robert A. Sandhaus C. Daniel Mullins

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