Hepatitis C: cost of illness and consideration for the economic evaluation of antiviral therapies

Division of Clinical Decision Making, Department of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Tufts-New England Medical Center, Tupper Research Institute, Boston, Massachusetts 02111, USA.
PharmacoEconomics (Impact Factor: 3.34). 02/2006; 24(7):661-72.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection affects 170 million individuals worldwide. As it is detected incidentally through the evaluation of liver function tests or at the time of blood donor testing, it is usually clinically silent until the advanced stages of liver disease have occurred, when treatment is less effective and shortages of donor liver organs limit the therapeutic options. Combination therapy with ribavirin and pegylated interferon has resulted in sustained viral negative response rates of 54-61%. Because treatment is expensive and not uniformly effective, and because not all chronically infected patients will develop complications, concerns have arisen regarding the cost effectiveness of combination therapy. This paper reviews the public health and individual implications of HCV infections. Because of the latency of infection, numerous country-specific population analyses suggest that HCV will cause an increasing number of liver-related deaths over the next 10 years, despite the dramatic drop in incidence over the past 10-15 years. These deaths will be related to prevalent HCV infection from transfusion and injection drug use prior to identification of the virus and availability of screening tests in the late 1980s and early 1990s. HCV can reduce life expectancy and impair quality of life, yet not all patients will develop progressive liver disease, and antiviral treatment may have associated adverse effects. Finally, to assess the value of antiviral drugs for HCV infection, this paper reviews studies examining the costs of antiviral drugs and of the disease itself along with response to antiviral therapy and the cost effectiveness of antiviral therapy. Although antiviral therapy appears to be expensive, when also considering the likelihood of sustained viral response to therapy, and the cost savings, quality-of-life improvement and prolongation of life expectancy from the prevention of HCV complications, antiviral treatment for HCV appears to be cost effective when compared with other well accepted medical interventions.

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    • "The cost-effectiveness of antiviral treatments for chronic hepatitis C is an area of interest, reflected in the large numbers of studies identified by this review and those by other reviews [7] [13]. A common framework for modeling chronic hepatitis C has been identified , which is currently populated with underlying data from a limited number of sources and associated with a high level of variability for key model parameters. "
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    ABSTRACT: Published economic evaluations have reported available treatments for chronic hepatitis C to be cost-effective as part of the current approach to disease management, but as standards of care evolve, their approach to modeling should be reconsidered. This study aimed to review structural frameworks and key model parameters as reported in current economic evaluations for treatments for chronic hepatitis C, and model the impact of variability across parameters on results. A systematic review of studies published from 2000 to 2011 was performed. Studies were retrieved from five electronic databases using relevant search strategies. Model structures, disease progression rates, utilities, and costs were extracted from included studies, and were qualitatively reviewed and incorporated into a cost-utility model. Thirty-four studies were appropriate for data extraction. A common pathway of six disease states was identified. In some studies the early disease stages and/or the decompensated cirrhosis state were further subdivided. Large variability in values used for disease progression rates, utilities, and costs were identified. When incorporated into a model, incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) varied: in the least favorable scenario, peginterferon plus ribavirin was dominated by interferon plus ribavirin; and in the most favorable scenario, peginterferon plus ribavirin dominated interferon plus ribavirin ($8,544 per quality-adjusted life year [QALY]; costs are given in 2008 US dollar amounts). Using mean values the ICER was $15,198 per QALY. Current models use a simplistic structure resulting from the lack of available data reflecting patient heterogeneity. Key model parameters are currently based on a small number of studies and the variability across these values can affect the interpretation of results.
    Value in Health 12/2011; 14(8):1068-77. DOI:10.1016/j.jval.2011.06.006 · 2.89 Impact Factor
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    • "The burden of HCV-related disease is associated with significant costs to the health system resulting from the need to manage chronic illness and the demand on services for treatment of advanced liver disease. As the incidence of advanced liver disease increases these costs will continue to escalate [3] [4], highlighting the need for increased investment in effective prevention interventions, notably safe and efficacious vaccines [5]. "
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    ABSTRACT: People who inject drugs (PWID) are at high risk of HCV. Limited evidence of the effectiveness of prevention interventions and low uptake of treatment in this group highlight the need for increased investment in biomedical interventions, notably safe and efficacious vaccines. While several candidates are currently in development, field trials in PWID present challenges, including ethical issues associated with trial literacy, informed consent and standards of care. Significant biological and social factors and differences between HIV and HCV suggest that HCV warrants targeted vaccine preparedness research to lay the groundwork for successful implementation of future trials.
    Vaccine 10/2010; 28(45):7273-8. DOI:10.1016/j.vaccine.2010.08.085 · 3.49 Impact Factor
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    • "The high frequency of genotype 3 observed in RS and SC is a relevant finding because the response to alpha interferon is generally better for this genotype than for the others, consequently reducing the antiviral treatment duration and the costs (Wong 2006, Van Soest et al. 2006). Finally, our data can provide new insights to facilitate surveillance policies with the recognition of the need for local resources to face this frequently silent infection. "
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) isolates have been divided into six genotypes (1 to 6). The duration of hepatitis C standard treatment is 48 weeks for patients infected with HCV genotype 1 vs 24 weeks for those infected with genotypes 2 and 3. A total of 1544 HCV isolates from chronic patients living in the southern Brazilian states of Rio Grande do Sul (RS, n=627) and Santa Catarina (SC, n=917) were genotyped by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) products. In RS, 338 (53.9%; 95% CI 50.0-57.8%), 34 (5.4%; 95% CI 3.8-7.4%) and, 255 (40.7%; 95% CI 36.9-44.6%) samples were from genotypes 1, 2, and 3, respectively. In SC, 468 (51%; 95% CI 47.8-54.2%), 26 (2.9%; 95% CI 1.9-4.1%) and, 423 (46.1%; 95% CI 42.9-49.3%) samples were from genotypes 1, 2, and 3, respectively. Genotyping results were confirmed by direct nucleotide sequencing of PCR products derived from 68 samples, without any discrepancy between PCR-RFLP and nucleotide sequencing methods. In conclusion, almost half of the hepatitis C patients from South of Brazil are infected by genotypes 2 and 3 and, these results have important consequential therapeutic implications as they can be treated for only 24 weeks, not 48.
    Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz 12/2007; 102(7):867-70. DOI:10.1590/S0074-02762007005000122 · 1.57 Impact Factor