Prioritization of HCV treatment in the direct-acting antiviral era: An economic evaluation

J Hepatol. 2016 Jul;65(1):17-25. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2016.02.007. Epub 2016 Feb 8.


Background & aims: We determined the optimal HCV treatment prioritization strategy for interferon-free (IFN-free) HCV direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) by disease stage and risk status incorporating treatment of people who inject drugs (PWID).

Methods: A dynamic HCV transmission and progression model compared the cost-effectiveness of treating patients early vs. delaying until cirrhosis for patients with mild or moderate fibrosis, where PWID chronic HCV prevalence was 20, 40 or 60%. Treatment duration was 12weeks at £3300/wk, to achieve a 95% sustained viral response and was varied by genotype/stage in alternative scenarios. We estimated long-term health costs (in £UK=€1.3=$1.5) and outcomes as quality adjusted life-years (QALYs) gained using a £20,000 willingness to pay per QALY threshold. We ranked strategies with net monetary benefit (NMB); negative NMB implies delay treatment.

Results: The most cost-effective group to treat were PWID with moderate fibrosis (mean NMB per early treatment £60,640/£23,968 at 20/40% chronic prevalence, respectively), followed by PWID with mild fibrosis (NMB £59,258 and £19,421, respectively) then ex-PWID/non-PWID with moderate fibrosis (NMB £9,404). Treatment of ex-PWID/non-PWID with mild fibrosis could be delayed (NMB -£3,650). In populations with 60% chronic HCV among PWID it was only cost-effective to prioritize DAAs to ex-PWID/non-PWID with moderate fibrosis. For every one PWID in the 20% chronic HCV setting, 2 new HCV infections were averted. One extra HCV-related death was averted per 13 people with moderate disease treated. Rankings were unchanged with reduced drug costs or varied sustained virological response/duration by genotype/fibrosis stage.

Conclusions: Treating PWID with moderate or mild HCV with IFN-free DAAs is cost-effective compared to delay until cirrhosis, except when chronic HCV prevalence and reinfection risk is very high.

Keywords: Hepatitis C; People who inject drugs; Prevention; Treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Hepatitis C*
  • Humans
  • Interferons
  • Sustained Virologic Response


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Interferons