Development of a method to determine the cost of breast cancer treatment with chemotherapy at Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa
Background. There has been no comprehensive study determining the financial burden of breast cancer in the South African (SA) public sector.
Objectives. To develop a method to determine the cost of breast cancer treatment with chemotherapy per episode of care and to quantify the associated costs relating to chemotherapy at Groote Schuur Hospital (GSH), a government hospital in SA. These costs included costs associated with the management of adverse events arising from chemotherapy.
Methods. Retrospective patient-level data were collected for 200 patients from electronic databases and patient folders between 2013 and 2015. Direct medical costs were determined from the health funder’s perspective. The information collected was categorised into the following cost components: chemotherapy medicines, support medicines, administration of chemotherapy, laboratory tests, radiology scans and imaging, doctor consultations and adverse events. Time-and-motion studies were conducted on a set of new patients and the data obtained were used for the study sample of 200 patients. All the above costs were used to determine the cost of chemotherapy per episode of care. The episode of care was defined as the care provided from 2 months prior to the date of commencing chemotherapy (pre-chemotherapy phase), during chemotherapy (treatment phase) and until 6 months after the date when the last cycle of chemotherapy was administered (follow-up phase).
Results. A method was developed to determine the episode-of-care costs for breast cancer at GSH. The total direct medical cost for treatment of breast cancer at GSH for 200 patients was ZAR3 154 877, and the average episode-of-care cost per patient was ZAR15 774. The average cost of management of adverse events arising from the various treatment modalities was ZAR13 133 per patient. It was found that the cost of treating a patient with adverse events was 1.8 times higher than the cost of treating a patient without adverse events. Of the patients, 86.5% managed to complete their prescribed chemotherapy treatment cycles, and the average cost of treatment of these patients was 1.3 times more than the average cost for patients who could not complete their treatment, based on the number of treatment cycles received.
Conclusion. A comprehensive method to determine the costs associated with breast cancer management per episode of care was developed, and costs were quantified at GSH according to the treatment protocol used at the hospital.
N T Guzha, School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
T Thebe, Department of Radiation Oncology, Groote Schuur Hospital and Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa
N Butler, School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
P N Valodia, School of Pharmacy, Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
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Date published: 2020-03-30
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