Background: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment can reduce the incidence of future infections through removing opportunities for onward transmission. This benefit is not captured in conventional cost-effectiveness evaluations of treatment and is particularly relevant in patient groups with a high risk of transmission, such as those people who inject drugs (PWID), where the treatment rates have been historically low. This study aimed to quantify how reduced HCV transmission changes the cost-effectiveness of new direct-acting antiviral (DAA) regimens as a function of treatment uptake rates.
Methods: An established model of HCV disease transmission and progression was used to quantify the impact of treatment uptake (10-100%), within the PWID population, on the cost-effectiveness of a DAA regimen versus pre-DAA standard of care, conducted using daclatasvir plus sofosbuvir in the UK setting as an illustrative example.
Results: The consequences of reduced disease transmission due to treatment were associated with additional net monetary benefit of £24,304-£90,559 per patient treated at £20,000/QALY, when 10-100% of eligible patients receive treatment with 100% efficacy. Dependent on patient genotype, the cost-effectiveness of HCV treatment using daclatasvir plus sofosbuvir improved by 36-79% versus conventional analysis, at 10-100% treatment uptake in the PWID population.
Conclusions: The estimated cost-effectiveness of HCV treatment was shown to improve as more patients are treated, suggesting that the value of DAA regimens to the NHS could be enhanced by improved treatment uptake rates among PWID. However, the challenge for the future will lie in achieving increased rates of treatment uptake, particularly in the PWID population.
Keywords: Cost-effectiveness; Disease transmission; Hepatitis C virus; PWID.