Background: Value of Information (VOI) analysis examines whether to acquire information before making a decision. We introduced VOI to the HIV audience, using the example of generic antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the US.
Methods and findings: We used a mathematical model and probabilistic sensitivity analysis (PSA) to generate probability distributions of survival (in quality-adjusted life years, QALYs) and cost for three potential first-line ART regimens: three-pill generic, two-pill generic, and single-pill branded. These served as input for a comparison of two hypothetical two-arm trials: three-pill generic versus single-pill branded; and two-pill generic versus single-pill branded. We modeled pre-trial uncertainty by defining probability distributions around key inputs, including 24-week HIV-RNA suppression and subsequent ART failure. We assumed that, without a trial, patients received the single-pill branded strategy. Post-trial, we assumed that patients received the most cost-effective strategy. For both trials, we quantified the probability of changing to a generic-based regimen upon trial completion and the expected VOI in terms of improved health outcomes and costs. Assuming a willingness to pay (WTP) threshold of $100 000/QALY, the three-pill trial led to more treatment changes (84%) than the two-pill trial (78%). Estimated VOI was $48 000 (three-pill trial) and $35 700 (two-pill trial) per future patient initiating ART.
Conclusions: A three-pill trial of generic ART is more likely to lead to post-trial treatment changes and to provide more value than a two-pill trial if policy decisions are based on cost-effectiveness. Value of Information analysis can identify trials likely to confer the greatest impact and value for HIV care.
Keywords: Cost-effectiveness analysis; Decision modeling; Generic drugs; HIV; Value of information.