Hepatitis C: Cost of illness and considerations 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: 2.45). 02/2006; 24(7):661-72.
Source: PubMed


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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    • "Hepatitis B and hepatitis C are major health problems globally casting an enormous burden on the health-care system and a major source of patient's misery.[1415] They are important causes of hepatocellular carcinoma and are likely to remain a serious health problem resulting in substantial morbidity and mortality for several decades to come.[16] "
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatitis is an inflammatory disease of the liver. In sever cases, it may lead to permanent liver damage including liver cirrhosis or hepato-cellular carcinoma and may ultimately lead to death. Health-care workers (HCWs), due to their regular contact with patients are at a high-risk of acquiring this disease. The aim of this study was to assess the knowledge and attitude toward hepatitis B and C infection among the health-care interns and correlate the level of awareness to the attitude they behold toward the disease. A closed ended questionnaire consisting of questions to evaluate the knowledge regarding hepatitis B and C infection and attitude of the (HCWs/interns) was duly filled by 255 participants including, 100 dental, 100 medical, and 55 nursing interns. Statistical analysis was carried out using the Chi-square test, ANOVA test, post-hoc test and Pearson's correlation. Although most of the interns were aware of the existence of hepatitis B and C infection, the level of awareness regarding the modes of transmission and vaccination was found to be dissatisfactory. Awareness level regarding the infection among nursing interns was statistically significantly lower than the dental and medical interns. A direct positive correlation as found between awareness score and behavior score, which reveals that interns with better awareness level had better attitudes toward the infection and prevention of its transmission. There is an urgent need to increase the level and quality of training among HCWs to prevent the spread of hepatitis B virus and hepatitis C virus.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2013
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2011 · Value in Health
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    • "On the basis of mathematical modeling, the HCV-related morbidity and mortality rates in high-income countries are expected to at least double in the next 2 decades [5,6]. Because successful combination therapy for HCV became widely available in 2001 [7-11] and an era of new therapeutic options is expected shortly [12,13], the challenge now is to identify as many HCV-infected individuals as possible. Consequently, the Public Health Services of Amsterdam and South Limburg introduced the Hepatitis C Internet Project, a pilot study aimed at identifying undiagnosed HCV-infected individuals in the general population. "
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is mainly transmitted by exposure to infected blood, and can lead to liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. Since the onset of HCV and the development of liver cirrhosis usually are asymptomatic, many HCV-infected individuals are still undiagnosed. To identify individuals infected with HCV in the general population, a low threshold, internet-mediated blood testing service was set up. We performed a qualitative study examining reasons for compliance and noncompliance with advice to test for HCV via the online blood testing service. Semistructured telephone interviews were conducted with 33 website visitors who had been advised to test for HCV (18 testers, 15 non-testers). Transcribed interviews were analyzed qualitatively and interpreted using psychosocial theories of health behavior. Reasons for testing pertaining to the online service were: the testing procedure is autonomous, personalized test advice is provided online, reminder emails are sent, and there is an online planning tool. Reasons for testing not specific to the online service were: knowing one's status can prevent liver disease and further transmission of HCV, HCV is curable, testing can provide reassurance, physical complaints are present, and there is liver disease in one's social environment. Service-related reasons for not testing pertained to inconvenient testing facilities, a lack of commitment due to the low threshold character of the service, computer/printing problems, and incorrectly interpreting an online planning tool. The reasons for not testing that are not specific to the online service were: the belief that personal risk is low, the absence of symptoms, low perceived urgency for testing and treatment, fear of the consequences of a positive test result, avoiding threatening information, and a discouraging social environment. Features specific to the online service played a significant role in motivation to test for HCV above and beyond the more conventional perceived health benefits of HCV testing. However, some online specific features were considered problematic and need to be adapted. Methods and strategies for dealing with these impeding factors and for improving compliance with testing via the online service are outlined.
    Full-text · Article · May 2011 · BMC Public Health
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