Pharmaco-economics of blood transfusion safety: review of the available evidence

Vox Sang. 2002 Aug;83(2):146-55. doi: 10.1046/j.1423-0410.2002.00198.x.


Background and objectives: Pharmaco-economics provides a standardized methodology for valid comparisons of interventions in different fields of health care. The role of pharmaco-economics in the safety of blood and blood products has, however, been very limited to date. This review discusses the pharmaco-economic evaluations of strategies to enhance blood product safety that have been published in the scientific literature.

Materials and methods: We reviewed pharmaco-economic methodology with special reference to cost-effectiveness analysis. We searched the literature for cost-effectiveness in blood product safety.

Result: Net costs per quality adjusted life-year (QALY) gained varied from cost-saving for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)- and hepatitis C virus (HCV) antibody screening and leucoreduction to several million US dollars per QALY gained for solvent-detergent treatment of plasma, nucleic acid amplification testing and HIV p24 antigen testing.

Conclusions: To date the safety of blood transfusion has been largely determined by available technology, irrespective of pharmaco-economics. Net costs up to several million US dollars per QALY gained were found for interventions implemented.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Transfusion / economics*
  • Blood Transfusion / standards
  • Consumer Product Safety
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Economics, Pharmaceutical*
  • Humans
  • Transfusion Reaction
  • Virus Diseases / diagnosis
  • Virus Diseases / prevention & control
  • Virus Diseases / transmission