Identification of groups with poor cost-effectiveness of peginterferon plus ribavirin for naïve hepatitis C patients with a real-world cohort and database

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Abstract

Background:

For decades, peginterferon and ribavirin (PegIFN/RBV) have been the standard-of-care for chronic hepatitis C virus (CHC) infection. However, the actual cost-effectiveness of this therapy remains unclear. We purposed to explore the real-world cost effectiveness for subgroups of treatment-naïve CHC patients with PegIFN/RBV therapy in a large real-world cohort using a whole population database.

Methods:

A total of 1809 treatment-naïve chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) patients (829 HCV genotype 1 [G1] and 980 HCV G2) treated with PegIFN/RBV therapies were linked to the National Health Insurance Research Database, covering the entire population of Taiwan from 1998 to 2013 to collect the total medical-care expenses of outpatient (antiviral agents, nonantiviral agents, laboratory, and consultation costs) and inpatient (medication, logistic, laboratory, and intervention costs) visits. The costs per treatment and the cost per sustained virological response (SVR) achieved were calculated.

Results:

The average medical-care cost was USD $4823 (±$2984) per treatment and $6105 (±$3778) per SVR achieved. With SVR rates of 68.6% and 87.8%, the cost/SVR was significantly higher in G1 than those in G2 patients, respectively ($8285 vs $4663, P < .001). Treatment-naïve G1 patients of old ages, those with advanced fibrosis, high viral loads, or interleukin-28B unfavorable genotypes, or those without a rapid virological response (RVR: undetectable HCV RNA at week 4), or those with complete early virological response (cEVR: undetectable HCV RNA at week 12). Treatment-naïve G2 patients with high viral loads or without RVR or cEVR incurred significantly higher costs per SVR than their counterparts. The cost/SVR was extremely high among patients without RVR and in patients without cEVR.

Conclusion:

We investigated the real-world cost effectiveness data for different subgroups of treatment-naïve HCV patients with PegIFN/RBV therapies, which could provide useful, informative evidence for making decisions regarding future therapeutic strategies comprising costly direct-acting antivirals.

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