Background: Most cost-effectiveness analyses of hepatitis C (HCV) therapy focus on the benefits of reducing liver-related morbidity and mortality.
Objectives: Our objective was to assess how cost-effectiveness estimates of HCV therapy can vary depending on assumptions regarding the potential impact of HCV therapy on non-hepatic mortality.
Methods: We adapted a state-transition model to include potential effects of HCV therapy on non-hepatic mortality. We assumed successful treatment could reduce non-hepatic mortality by as little as 0 % to as much as 100 %. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios were computed comparing immediate treatment versus delayed treatment and comparing immediate treatment versus non-treatment.
Results: Comparing immediate treatment versus delayed treatment, when we included a 44 % reduction in non-hepatic mortality following successful HCV treatment, the incremental cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained by HCV treatment fell by 76 % (from US$314,100 to US$76,900) for patients with no fibrosis and by 43 % (from US$62,500 to US$35,800) for patients with moderate fibrosis. Comparing immediate treatment versus non-treatment, assuming a 44 % reduction in non-hepatic mortality following successful HCV treatment, the incremental cost per QALY gained by HCV treatment fell by 64 % (from US$186,700 to US$67,300) for patients with no fibrosis and by 27 % (from US$35,000 to US$25,500) for patients with moderate fibrosis.
Conclusion: Including reductions in non-hepatic mortality from HCV treatment can have substantial effects on the estimated cost-effectiveness of treatment.