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Economic evaluation of screening programs for hepatitis C virus infection: evidence from literature

Authors Coretti S, Romano F, Orlando V, Codella P, Prete S, Di Brino E, Ruggeri M

Received 21 October 2014

Accepted for publication 27 February 2015

Published 21 April 2015 Volume 2015:8 Pages 45—54


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Frank Papatheofanis

Silvia Coretti,1 Federica Romano,1 Valentina Orlando,2 Paola Codella,1 Sabrina Prete,1 Eugenio Di Brino,1 Matteo Ruggeri1

1Post-Graduate School of Economics and Management (ALTEMS), Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy; 2Center of Pharmacoeconomics (CIRFF), Department of Pharmacy, Federico II University, Naples, Italy

Background: Hepatitis C is a liver infection caused by hepatitis C virus. Its main complications are cirrhosis and liver cancer. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 185 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis C virus and, of these, 350,000 die every year. Due to the high disease prevalence and the existence of effective (and expensive) medical treatments able to dramatically change the prognosis, early detection programs can potentially prevent the development of serious chronic conditions, improve health, and save resources.
Objective: To summarize the available evidence on the cost-effectiveness of screening programs for hepatitis C.
Methods: A literature search was performed on PubMed and Scopus search engines. Trip database was queried to identify reports produced by the major Health Technology Assessment (HTA) agencies. Three reviewers dealt with study selection and data extraction blindly.
Results: Ten papers eventually met the inclusion criteria. In studies focusing on asymptomatic cohorts of individuals at general risk the cost/quality adjusted life year of screening programs ranged between US $4,200 and $50,000/quality adjusted life year gained, while in those focusing on specific risk factors the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio ranged between $848 and $128,424/quality adjusted life year gained. Age of the target population and disease prevalence were the main cost-effectiveness drivers.
Conclusion: Our results suggest that, especially in the long run, screening programs represent a cost-effective strategy for the management of hepatitis C.

Keywords: hepatitis C, screening, early detection, cost-effectiveness

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