Cost-effectiveness is 1 of the most important factors in medicine reimbursement, and social willingness to pay (WTP) can provide evidence for the threshold of cost-effectiveness analysis. Recently, the concept of curative medicines has been introduced, so it is necessary to study their cost-effectiveness. This study aimed to estimate WTP per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) for a cure in the Korean general population.
A total of 507 people from the general population, proportionally assigned by sex, age, and region, participated in face-to-face interviews. The contingent valuation survey was conducted with scenarios involving 4 EuroQol-5 dimensions (EQ-5D) with different health statuses. We assumed a treatment that moved the health status of each scenario to perfect health. WTP for 1 year of treatment was derived using a double-bounded format followed by open-ended answers. In the cure scenario, the post-treatment effect continued for a lifetime; in the non-cure scenario, the effect instantly stopped when treatment was terminated. Additionally, prolonged treatment effects lasting 5 and 10 years were added. To identify the factors influencing WTP, a multi-level analysis was performed.
WTP per QALY for the non-cure scenario was KRW 15 million/QALY. For the cure scenario, WTP was 2.3 times higher (KRW 35 million/QALY) than in the non-cure scenario. The results for the prolonged treatment effect scenarios were KRW 22 million/QALY and KRW 27 million/QALY, which are 1.4 and 1.8 times higher than the non-cure scenario, respectively. In all scenarios, the statistically significant factors affecting WTP per QALY were higher education, higher household income, and healthcare provider.
This study revealed that WTP for a cure treatment was higher than that for non-cure; this higher WTP should be considered in future decision-making regarding curative treatments.