Meningitis Research Foundation (MRF) welcomes the publication of the cost effectiveness analysis (CEA) of new Men B vaccine Bexsero® in the BMJ (October 10, 2014), but is concerned that the model considerably undervalues the devastating impacts of the disease.
MRF believes the fatality rate for meningococcal group B disease (MenB) was underestimated in the analysis. The model uses a rate of 4%, but wider research reports rates in the region of 5 – 10%. We’re also concerned that the after effects many survivors live with every day are underestimated.
This study informed the Joint Committee on Vaccination for Immunisation (JCVI’s) recent recommendation on the introduction of the new Men B vaccine which until now has not been in the public domain. In March 2014 the JCVI recommended that the vaccine be offered to babies at 2, 4 and 12 months of age as long as the Department of Health can obtain the vaccine at a cost effective price.
Christopher Head, CEO of MRF said : “The use of CEA to decide which vaccines should be implemented runs the risk of transforming vaccines into cost saving measures rather than interventions which alleviate human suffering, death and disability.
We believe that the methodology is not robust enough to capture all health benefits gained from introducing this vaccine which prevents rare and serious illness in children nor does it fairly represent the preferences of the public.
There is strong evidence  that the public prefer prevention over cures, and would rather prevent death or severe disability in a few than mild illness among the many. But CEA does not reflect these preferences. Children are at a disadvantage because much higher importance is placed on immediate health benefits compared with those that are sustained far into the future. For this pioneering vaccine to stand a chance of being purchased at a fair price it is vital that the parameters used in the model are not underestimated.
Price negotiations between the vaccine manufacturer and the Dept of Health are currently under way. We estimate that over 1,700 people contract MenB every year. It is now a vaccine preventable disease and we urge the department of health and the vaccine manufacturer to conclude these negotiations positively as soon as possible.”
Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release.
Luyten J, Goos P, Kessels R, Beutels P. Prevention, cure and public preferences for funding health care: a D-efficient discrete choice experiment. International Health Economics Association, 9th World Congress, 7-10 July 2013, Sydney, Australia.
Luyten J, Dorgali V, Hens N, Beutels P. Public preferences over efficiency, equity and autonomy in vaccination policy: An empirical study. Social Sciences & Medicine 2013;77:84-9.
Source: Meningitis Research Foundation