The cost of systemic therapy for metastatic colorectal carcinoma in Slovenia: Discrepancy analysis between cost and reimbursement
Background: To estimate the direct medical costs of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) treated at the Ljubljana Oncology Institute and to question the healthcare payment system in Slovenia.
METHODS: Using an internal patient database, the costs of mCRC patients were estimated in 2009 by examining (1) mCRC direct medical related costs, and (2) the cost difference between payment received by Slovenian health insurance and actual mCRC costs. Costs were analyzed in the treatment phase of the disease by assessing the direct medical costs of hospital treatment with systemic therapy together with hospital treatment of side effects, without assessing radiotherapy or surgical treatment. Follow-up costs, indirect medical costs, and nonmedical costs were not included.
RESULTS: A total of 209 mCRC patients met all eligibility criteria. The direct medical costs of mCRC hospitalization with systemic therapy in Slovenia for 2009 were estimated as the cost of medications (cost of systemic therapy + cost of drugs for premedication) + labor cost (the cost of carrying out systemic treatment) + cost of lab tests + cost of imaging tests + KRAS testing cost + cost of hospital treatment due to side effects of mCRC treatment, and amounted to €3,914,697.
The difference between the cost paid by health insurance and actual costs, estimated as direct medical costs of hospitalization of mCRC patients treated with systemic therapy at the Ljubljana Oncology Institute in 2009, was €2,013,939.20.
CONCLUSIONS: The costs paid to the Ljubljana Oncology Institute by health insurance for treating mCRC with systemic therapy do not match the actual cost of treatment. In fact, the difference between the payment and the actual cost estimated as direct medical costs of hospitalization of mCRC patients treated with systemic therapy at the Ljubljana Oncology Institute in 2009 was €1,900,757.80.