J Rheum Dis.  2020 Jul;27(3):159-167. 10.4078/jrd.2020.27.3.159.

The Impact of the Amendment of the Korean National Health Insurance Reimbursement Criteria for Anti-tumor Necrosis Factor-α Agents on Treatment Pattern, Clinical Response and Persistence in Patients With Rheumatoid Arthritis

Affiliations
  • 1Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Kosin University College of Medicine, Busan, Korea
  • 2Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Gyeongsang National University School of Medicine, Gyeongsang National University Changwon Hospital, Changwon, Korea
  • 3Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Pusan National University Hospital, Pusan National University School of Medicine, Korea
  • 4Biomedical Research Institute, Pusan National University Hospital, Busan, Korea

Abstract


Objective
. To investigate the impact of the amendment of the Korean National Health Insurance (KNHI) reimbursement criteria for anti-tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) agents based on from conventional clinical and laboratory measurements to disease activity score of 28 joints (DAS28) on treatment pattern, clinical response, and persistence rate in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
Methods
. This multicenter retrospective cohort study evaluated 148 RA patients eligible for the initiation of anti- TNF-α agents as the first-line biologics by either the past (n=95) or current (n=53) KNHI reimbursement criteria. Persistence was defined as the duration between the initiation and discontinuation of anti-TNFα agents.
Results
. In total, 106 (71.6%), 35 (23.6%), and 7 (4.7%) RA patients started treatment with adalimumab, etanercept, and infliximab, respectively. RA patients who received anti-TNF-α agents under the current reimbursement criteria had a significantly lower mean DAS28-erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) (6.02 vs. 6.95, p<0.001) and daily prednisolone-equivalent glucocorticoid dose (4.51 vs. 6.17 mg, p<0.001) than those who received anti-TNF-α agents under the past reimbursement criteria. No significant differences in the 1-year remission rate defined by DAS28-ESR<2.6 (17.9% vs. 30.2%, p=0.085) and the persistence rate (p=0.703) between the past and current reimbursement criteria was observed.
Conclusion
. Our data suggest that less active RA patients can receive reimbursement for anti-TNF-α agents under the current criteria, and the amendment of the KNHI reimbursement criteria may improve access to anti-TNF-α agents without affecting the treatment response and persistence rate.

Keyword

Rheumatoid arthritis; Tumor necrosis factor-alpha; Health insurance; Health care costs; Treatment outcome
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