The economic impact of 14 compassionate use programs for medicines in Italy, in the perspective of the National Health Service


  • Claudio Jommi Dipartimento di Scienze del Farmaco, Università del Piemonte Orientale, Novara - Italy
  • Federico Pantellini Access Chapter, Roche S.p.A. Monza - Italy
  • Giovanni Giuliani Access Chapter, Roche S.p.A. Monza - Italy
  • Marianna Cavazza Cergas, SDA Bocconi School of Management, Università Bocconi, Milano - Italy



Compassionate use program, Economic impact, Italy


Background: Compassionate use programs (CUP) for medicines allow patients, not recruited in trials, accessing medicines before marketing approval. The evidence on the economic impact of CUP is limited to one paper that did not include the possible long-term economic impact of medicines used in CUP compared to alternative treatments, like avoided hospitalization costs. This paper aims at covering this information gap, updating and integrating the existing evidence, with a cost analysis in the perspective of the Italian National Health Service (SSN).

Methods: Data were retrieved from the Roche CUP Database, the peer-reviewed literature (e.g. published cost-effectiveness studies, if any), the gray literature (e.g. regional documents for the alternative treatment cost) and unpublished data (e.g. cost-effectiveness analysis provided for price and reimbursement negotiation for medicines in CUP).

Results: We retrieved data from 14 CUPs and 3,485 patients (70% affected by tumors) (Jan 2015-August 2022). The alternative treatment mean cost per patient ranged from € 11.1 k to € 18.8 k. The net economic benefit ranged from € 47 million to € 75 million (€ 13.5 k-€ 21.5 k per patient). Avoiding alternative treatments mostly contributes to the economic benefit. The long-term economic impact accounted for 20/30% of the net economic impact. The net economic benefit for cancer drugs ranged from € 12.6 million to € 40.0 million.

Conclusions: Despite research limitations, this paper provides additional evidence on the economic impact of CUP in Italy. This could represent the first step of a broader analysis of the economic impact of early access schemes for drugs.


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How to Cite

Jommi, C., Pantellini, F., Giuliani, G., & Cavazza, M. (2024). The economic impact of 14 compassionate use programs for medicines in Italy, in the perspective of the National Health Service. Global and Regional Health Technology Assessment, 11(1), 115–123.



Original Research Articles


Received 2023-11-23
Accepted 2024-03-27
Published 2024-05-21


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