New data has illustrated the value of Janssen’s oral antidepressant Spravato (esketamine) CIII nasal spray for treatment-resistant depression (TRD).

The value was proven for patients, U.S. payers, and society at the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research Annual Meeting (ISPOR) in New Orleans, after the company was reprimanded in May for its ‘overpricing’ of the drug.

Based on response, remission, and relapse rates from Phase III clinical trials, an analysis found that managing TRD with Spravato  in conjunction with an oral antidepressant was predicted to cost at least $20,000 less per patient in those achieving remission, compared to patients receiving an oral antidepressant plus placebo.

Spravato is a chemical cousin of ketamine, a relatively inexpensive anesthetic that has been prescribed by some psychiatrists as an alternative treatment for intractable depression for several years.

The approval of the drug is a new way of treating adults with TRD that is unlike other treatment options in psychiatry, and Janssen has assured it is working quickly to educate healthcare settings on the unique administration requirements.

"Given the profound emotional, functional, and economic burden of treatment-resistant depression, it was extremely important to comprehensively assess the economic value newly-approved Spravato can bring to patients, payers, and society," said John Sheehan, director of Real-World Value and Evidence at Janssen.

He continued, "We found that, because it can help more patients have a significant reduction in their depressive symptoms compared to an oral antidepressant plus placebo, Spravato is a meaningful clinical and economic investment. People who no longer experience ongoing depressive symptoms pay less to manage their disease, reduce the cost to the overall healthcare system, and are able to get back to their lives."

TRD is a debilitating disease which has been reported in recent research to have an additional annual societal cost of $29 billion to $48 billion on top of the costs of major depressive disorder (MDD) in the U.S.