OBJECTIVE The use of exogenous surfactants among preterm infants for the prevention and treatment of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) has led to economic and cost-effectiveness evaluations of these products. Lucinactant (Surfaxin), a novel, peptide-based, synthetic surfactant, has been shown to significantly reduce RDS-related mortality, compared with the most commonly prescribed animal-derived surfactant, beractant (Survanta). Infants who survive expend significant healthcare resources; therefore, the impact of improved survival through 1-year corrected age was evaluated in a prospectively defined pharmacoeconomic analysis. The objectives of this study were to estimate the healthcare resource utilization, economic impact, and cost-effectiveness of lucinactant versus beractant for the prevention of RDS among surviving very low birth weight (VLBW) preterm infants weighing 600 to 1250 grams.

METHODS A decision-analytic model was developed to compare the healthcare resource utilization, economic impact, and cost-effectiveness of lucinactant versus beractant.

RESULTS Infants who received lucinactant had fewer neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) days and fewer NICU days on mechanical ventilation compared with infants who received beractant. Total healthcare costs for the initial stay in the NICU were lower by $8,803 among infants who received lucinactant compared with infants who received beractant. The incremental cost per life saved was $40,309 for lucinactant compared with beractant.

CONCLUSIONS Administration of lucinactant to surviving VLBW preterm infants resulted in fewer NICU days and fewer NICU days on mechanical ventilation compared with beractant. Fewer NICU days translates into lower total costs among infants who received lucinactant. This comprehensive pharmacoeconomic analysis indicates that lucinactant is a cost-effective therapy for the prevention of RDS among preterm infants.

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