Background Limited data is available on Hepatitis C disease prevalence, treatment initiation and its cost-effectiveness in Lebanon and the whole Middle East. Objective The aim of the study is to assess whether initiation of novel Direct Acting Antiviral agents (DAAs) at early stage of hepatitis C is cost-effective in Lebanese patients. Setting Lebanon. Methods This modeling study was conducted from the perspective of Lebanese third party payers, where existing practice is based on international guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. The model assessed cost-effectiveness of early versus delayed DAAs treatment in a standard patient upon HCV diagnosis. Medical costs were valued using in-house database. Main outcome measures Incremental Cost-Effectiveness Ratio (ICER) per QALY and per life-year extended. Results Treatment at early HCV disease stage has led to an ICER of 587 euro per QALY gained throughout the course of the disease. Outcomes of early treatment with DAAs upon HCV diagnosis led to an incremental cost of 27,268 euro per QALY gained at first year of treatment, and of 1527 euro per additional life-year extended. Sensitivity analysis showed that a 25% decrease in the cost of dual drug option resulted in a decrease of incremental cost to 16,982 euro per QALY gained at first year of treatment with DAAs upon early HCV diagnosis. Conclusion Decision makers are encouraged to reinforce the need to screen for HCV and initiate novel treatment at early disease stage in the Lebanese healthcare system.
Keywords: Cost-effectiveness; Delayed treatment; Direct acting anti-viral agents; Early treatment; Hepatitis C virus; Lebanon; QALYs.