Traditionally, economic evaluations have engaged clinicians and policymakers; however, patients and their caregivers have insight that can ensure that the economic evaluation process appropriately reflects disease consequences and adequately addresses their priorities related to treatment.
We aimed to identify patient priorities to inform an early economic evaluation of chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy for adults with relapsed or refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
We conducted two online group discussions of four participants each, involving patients with experience of hematological cancer and a caregiver. We used an adapted version of the nominal group technique, a consensus-building discussion approach, to generate focused qualitative data.
Patients and a caregiver acknowledged both the costs directly related to clinical care, such as the out-of-pocket cost of drugs, and the indirect treatment costs, such as the cost of transport, accommodation, and food. The emotional and physical toll of treatment and the influence of treatment on employment and education were additional costs emphasized by participants. Treatment benefits prioritized by participants included the efficacy of treatment, manageable side effects, improved quality of life, accessibility of treatment, and short treatment duration.
Engaging patients and caregivers in an early economic evaluation could help identify additional costs and benefits of therapies that are not typically recognized in economic evaluations but have the potential to increase the commercial viability of novel therapies. This research also demonstrates how patients and caregivers can be engaged at different levels in the development of early economic evaluation models.