July 28, 2022

Antiseizure Medication and Perceived “Fair” Cost Allocation: a Factorial Survey Among Neurologists, Persons with Epilepsy, Their Relatives and a Control Group

Abstract found on Wiley Online Library

Objective: As resources are limited in modern healthcare systems, the decision on the allocation of expensive drugs can be supported by a public consent. This study examines how various factors influence subjectively perceived “fair” pricing of antiseizure medication (ASM) among four groups including physicians, persons with epilepsy (PWE), their relatives and a control group.

Methods: We conducted a factorial survey. Vignettes featured a fictional PWE receiving a fictional ASM. The characteristics of the fictional PWE, ASM and epilepsy varied. Participants were asked to assess the subjectively appropriate annual cost of ASM treatment per year for each scenario.

Results: 57 PWE (age 37.7 ±?12.3, 45.6 % females), 44 relatives (age 48.4 ±?15.7, 51.1 % females), 46 neurologists (age 37.1 ±?9.6, 65.2 % females) and 47 persons in the control group (age 31.2 ±?11.2, 68.1 % females) completed the questionnaire. The amount of money that respondents were willing to spend for ASM-treatment was higher than currently needed in Germany and increased with disease severity among all groups. All groups except for PWE accepted higher costs of a drug with better seizure control. Physicians and the control group, but not PWE and their relatives, tended to do so also for minor or no side effects. Physicians reduced the costs for unemployed patients and the control group spent less money for older patients.

Significance: Antiseizure medication effectiveness appears to justify higher costs. However, the control group attributed less money to older people with epilepsy and physicians allocated fewer drug costs to unemployed people with epilepsy.