Case study on an ipilimumab cost-containment strategy in an Italian hospital

Alberto Russi, Vanna Chiarion-Sileni, Vera Damuzzo, Francesca Di Sarra, Jacopo Pigozzo, Angelo Claudio Palozzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Ipilimumab is the first licensed immune checkpoint inhibitor for treatment of melanoma. The promising results of the registration clinical study need confirmation in real practice and its clinical success comes together with a relevant budget impact due to the high price of this drug. The aim of this work is to describe a new model of economical sustainability of ipilimumab developed in an Italian reference center for melanoma treatment. Methods: This retrospective, observational, and monocentric study was carried out at the Veneto Institute of Oncology. Ipilimumab was administered to fifty-seven patients with advanced melanoma. Overall survival, progression free survival, and toxicity were evaluated. A local management procedure was evaluated together with the cost-saving strategies implemented by the Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA). Results: We demonstrated that the use of ipilimumab for metastatic melanoma in real practice had an efficacy and toxicity similar to that reported in the literature. In this scenario, our management model (centralization of compounding + drug-day) permitted savings up to the 11.1 percent of the gross cost for the drug (calculated assuming that no cost saving procedures were applied) while the policy of cost containment designed by AIFA produced an additional 6.2 percent of savings. Conclusions: In real practice conditions, the centralized administration of ipilimumab allows to replicate the results of clinical studies and in the meantime to contain the cost associated with this drug. The local strategy of management can be readily applied to most of the high cost drugs compounded in the hospital pharmacy. Impact of findings on practice: (i) We describe a new model of economic sustainability (drug-day, centralization of compounding, payback systems) of an expensive and innovative drug, ipilimumab, for treatment of melanoma within an Italian cancer center. (ii) This pivotal study demonstrated that a cost containment strategy is feasible and it needs the cooperation of all healthcare providers (oncologists, pharmacists, nurses, and technicians) to guarantee the full efficiency of the process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-205
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Cost-saving strategies
  • Drug-day
  • Managed entry agreements
  • Oncology
  • Vials-sharing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


Dive into the research topics of 'Case study on an ipilimumab cost-containment strategy in an Italian hospital'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this