Results from the Clopidogrel in Unstable Angina to Prevent Recurrent Events (CURE) study showed that clopidogrel plus aspirin, compared to aspirin alone, reduced cardiovascular events (death, myocardial infarction, and stroke) in patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS). Yet the acquisition cost of clopidogrel is much higher. It would therefore be worthwhile to compare the long-term cost impact of these 2 regimens. Until recently, only very few patients with ACS received clopidogrel-aspirin combination therapy in Hong Kong. Therefore, a hypothetical cohort was formed and compared to a real group of patients treated with aspirin alone. For the aspirin group, medical history was reviewed and cardiovascular and gastrointestinal events occurring in a period of 12 months after initiation of therapy were recorded. The target cost items included hospitalisation, emergency room visits, outpatient clinic visits, related medications, diagnostic tests, procedures, and surgery. For the hypothetical cohort, the probabilities/ relative risks for clinical events were adopted from the CURE study. Fifty-four consecutive patients with ACS receiving aspirin therapy were identified and studied between January 1, 2001 and December 31, 2001 from a major public hospital in Hong Kong. The average cost of management per patient over the 12 month period for the aspirin group was HK$85,324 (US$10,940, HK$7.9 = 1 US$) versus the hypothetical cohort HK$83,903 (US$10,757). Hospitalisation represented the major cost item (64.6%), followed by the cost of investigational tests (14.5%) and procedural cost (11.6%). According to our analytical model, the overall cost impact between clopidogrel plus aspirin versus aspirin alone in the 2 groups of patients was similar.
- Acute coronary syndrome