The new drug called “17P” is supposed to redue the incidence of another preterm birht. “Preterm birth is the leading cause of neonatal deaths and the leading cause of paediatric neuro-developmental disability in the U.S.,” writes Joanne Armstrong, MD, MPH, of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Combining data from six studies of the costs of preterm births with estimates of the effectiveness of the drug 17 Alpha Hydroxyprogesterone caproate (17P) in seven other studies, the investigators determined that initial neonatal hospital costs could be reduced by $3,800 per woman treated.

This could lead to a reduction in lifetime medical costs of $15,900 per child. Senior investigator Jennifer Bailit MD, MPH, of MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland states, "If the eligible population was universally treated with 17P, discounted lifetime medical costs of their offspring could be reduced by more than $2 billion annually. The potential societal savings from Medicaid coverage of 17P are substantial."

Armstrong continues in the editorial, "As more evidence accumulates about the effectiveness of 17P to prevent preterm birth, the current work of Bailit and colleagues provides valuable information about the magnitude of the cost benefit of 17P that can help inform health policy decisions and guide resource investments in the prevention of preterm birth." At the present time 17P is not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for this indication.

MEDICA.de; Source: Elsevier Health Sciences