Inequality in Drug Utilization among Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia Patients in Malaysia: A Cost-Utility Analysis

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

2 Department of Medicine, Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

3 Department of Haematology, Hospital Ampang, Ministry of Health Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


Background: The burden of chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML) is increasing due to longer patient survival, better life expectancy of the general population, and increasing drug prices. Funding is one of the main concerns in the choice of CML medication used worldwide; thus, patient assistance programmes were introduced to ensure accessibility to affordable treatment. In this study, we evaluated CML drug distribution inequality in Malaysia through patient assistance programmes, using pharmaco-economics methods to evaluate CML treatment from the care provider’s perspective. Methods: Patients with CML were recruited from outpatient haematological clinics at the national centre of intervention and referral for haematological conditions and a public teaching hospital. The health-related quality of life or utility scores were derived using the EuroQol EQ-5D-5L questionnaire. Costing data were obtained from the Ministry of Health Malaysia Casemix MalaysianDRG. Imatinib and nilotinib drug costs were obtained from the administration of the participating hospitals and pharmaceutical company. Results: Of the 221 respondents in this study, 68.8% were imatinib users. The total care provider cost for CML treatment was USD23,014.40 for imatinib and USD43,442.69 for nilotinib. The governmental financial assistance programme reduced the total care provider cost to USD13,693.51 for imatinib and USD19,193.45 for nilotinib. The quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) were 17.87 and 20.91 per imatinib and nilotinib user, respectively. Nilotinib had a higher drug cost than imatinib, yet its users had better life expectancy, utility score, and QALYs. Imatinib yielded the lowest cost per QALYs at USD766.29. Conclusion: Overall, imatinib is more cost-effective than nilotinib for treating CML in Malaysia from the care provider’s perspective. The findings demonstrate the importance of cancer drug funding assistance for ensuring that the appropriate treatments are accessible and affordable and that patients with cancer use and benefit from such patient assistance programmes. To establish effective health expenditure, drug distribution inequality should be addressed.


Main Subjects

Volume 23, Issue 12
December 2022
Pages 4253-4260
  • Receive Date: 29 July 2022
  • Revise Date: 10 October 2022
  • Accept Date: 20 December 2022
  • First Publish Date: 20 December 2022