Objective: To quantify physicians' preferences among possible outcomes associated with chronic hepatitis B treatments and to determine which outcomes are most important to physicians in making treatment decisions.
Methods: Physicians in five countries who treat chronic hepatitis B patients completed a web-enabled, choice-format, conjoint-analysis survey. The survey presented physicians with four treatment-choice questions for three different patient types. Each treatment-choice question included a pair of hypothetical medication profiles. Medication outcomes included how long the medication has been studied (weight of evidence); the probability that a patient's viral load remains undetectable for 5 years, with a possible histological improvement or reversal of disease progression (long-term efficacy); the 5-year treatment-related risk of fracture; the 5-year treatment-related risk of renal dysfunction; and patient cost. Treatment-choice questions were derived from a predetermined experimental design with known statistical properties. For each country, the random-parameters logit was used to estimate preference weights for all outcome levels and the mean relative importance of each outcome.
Results: Long-term efficacy and risk of renal dysfunction were the most important outcomes for the 788 physicians completing the survey, whereas weight of evidence was the least important. However, physicians perceived significant differences in weight of evidence timeframes. Physicians in Germany and France ranked efficacy above side-effect risk, whereas physicians in Spain, Italy, and Turkey ranked side-effect risk above efficacy in importance.
Conclusion: Physician preferences among treatment profiles indicate systematic differences in the relative importance of treatment outcomes. Physicians require higher efficacy for treatments with higher side-effect risk but somewhat less efficacy for treatments with longer evidence.