More Unnecessary Imaginary Worlds – Part 4: The ICER Evidence Report for Crizanlizumab, Voxelotor and L-Glutamine for Sickle Cell Disease

  • Paul Langley University of Minnesota
Keywords: imaginary worlds, sickle cell, ICER, pseudoscience, nonsense claims, Rasch standards


A number of commentaries have been published over the past 4 years by the present author on the manifest flaws in the reference case value assessment framework of the Institute for Economic and Clinical Review. The recent release of the evidence report on sickle cell disease continues ICER’s commitment to what has been described as the creation of imaginary worlds to support value assessment. The purpose of the present commentary is to continue the critiques that have been presented for earlier evidence reports. This is important because of the apparent willingness to take ICER’s recommendations at face value rather than a critical review of the value assessment framework. The case presented here points to a  number of weaknesses in the ICER framework: (i) the fabrication of imaginary constructs with a lifetime cost-per-incremental QALY framework; (ii) the consequent failure to meet the standards of normal science; (iii) the illogical reliance of assumptions drawn from the literature to create future scenarios; (iv) the rejection of hypothesis testing in favor of  ‘approximate information’ and (v) a belief that in the construction of QALYS that the EQ-5D-3L utility scale has ratio properties. This last point is demonstrably false which means that the ICER value assessment framework collapses. It is impossible mathematically, a failure to meet the axioms of fundamental measurement, for an ordinal utility scale to be combined with time spent in a disease state. The result is that the pricing and access recommendations for Crizanlizumab, Voxelotor and L-glutamine in sickle cell disease (SCD) are complete nonsense and should be rejected.


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Received 2020-03-16
Published 2020-05-07
Formulary Evaluations