The Cost Burden of Bone Disease in MM: Experiences in Latin America

A study of patients with multiple myeloma (MM) in Latin America found that major bone complications are linked to increased costs for patients, and that some patients may be undertreated for these conditions. This study was published in the Journal of Medical Economics.

The aim of this study was to evaluate the incidence of skeletal-related events (SREs) in four Latin American countries: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico. SREs were defined as fracture, spinal cord compression, radiation to bone, and surgery to bone.

The investigators conducted a systematic literature review to collect data on the economic burden of illness associated with SREs in Latin American patients with MM. Aggregate SRE costs were collected via country-specific sources. An economic analysis was conducted via a prevalence-based model. Patient productivity losses was also assessed. All costs are expressed in 2020 USD.

In total, the estimated number of SREs in the four countries was 251,503 in 2020. The total annual costs associated with these events was $1.4 billion. The researchers estimated that five-year costs would be $6.9 billion overall. Brazil had the highest estimated annual costs, or $779.1 million. Annual costs were $281.8 million and $174.6 million in Mexico and Argentina, respectively. Colombia had the lowest annual costs, or $120.1 million.

Patients in Brazil demonstrated the greatest average financial burden per 1,000 patients, or $3.6 million per 1,000. Mexico’s burden was $3.4 million per 1,000; Colombia reported $2.9 million per 1,000; and for Argentina it was $2.7 million per 1,000 patients.

In summary, the authors wrote, “Despite recommendations by medical societies for the use of bone-targeted agents in patients with solid tumors and bone metastasis or with multiple myeloma and bone lesions, a large proportion of patients at risk of experiencing SREs are not treated. Early detection of bone metastases and SREs, and the use of the most effective preventative treatments are needed to decrease the clinical and economic burden of SREs in Latin America.”