A new health economics analysis has revealed that regular supplementation with Insolar, a vitamin B3 derivative produced by Blackmores, which can reduce the risk of new skin cancers significantly, potentially saves the government two dollars for every dollar a person spends on the supplement.
Non-melanoma skin cancer is the second most expensive cancer in Australia, with an estimated 600,000 people currently presenting to doctors each year, utilising an estimated one million Medicare services and resulting in 100,000 hospital admissions a year.
The health economic analysis, presented to members and senators in Parliament House in Canberra this morning, was commissioned by Blackmores to further explore the economic benefits of the findings of the ONTRAC study, an Australian research paper published in recent weeks in the New England Journal of Medicine, showing that taking an oral vitamin B3 derivative, nicotinamide, may help reduce the risk of NMSCs in high risk patients.
“Taking the exact formulation used in the clinical trial costs a patient less than $200 a year and, based on our modelling of the implications of the ONTRAC study over time, could save more than $400 a year per person in expenses related to treatment funded by the public health systems,” says Dominic Tilden, a health economist who conducted the health economic analysis.
“Treating high risk NMSC patients according to the ONTRAC protocol could avoid more than 600,000 Medicare items, 50,000 hospitalisations and save governments more than $320 million over the next 10 years.
“There are likely to be further savings for the individual in terms of their out of pocket payments for NMSC treatment, lost work time avoided and quality of life gains,” says Dominic Tilden.
During her presentation at Parliament House, Dr Lesley Braun, Director of Blackmores Institute, noted the importance of research into complementary medicine.
“The evidence base for complementary medicines, such as vitamin B3, is constantly growing and has the potential to improve health outcomes cost effectively.
“This formulation is supported by compelling clinical evidence and will reduce the economic burden on public healthcare.”
“It highlights the need to continue to invest in research,” says Dr Braun.
“Further research over a longer period of time would confirm these encouraging findings from the ONTRAC study and the cost benefit analysis.”
ONTRAC was a randomised placebo controlled study showing a 23% reduction in the appearance of new NMSCs.
The nicotinamide product, Insolar, used in the ONTRAC study was developed by Blackmores. The researchers reported that the reduction in skin cancers seemed to start at the first three month visit and when people stopped taking the vitamin after 12 months, the benefit was no longer seen.