PloS one 2016 Oct 611(10) e0163488 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0163488
People who inject drugs (PWID) are disproportionally affected by the hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. The efficacy of HCV treatment has significantly improved in recent years with the introduction of direct-acting antivirals (DAAs). However, DAAs are more costly than pegylated-interferon and ribavirin (PegIFN/RBV). We aimed to assess the cost-effectiveness of four HCV treatment strategies among PWID and treatment scale-up.
An individual-based model was used describing HIV and HCV transmission and disease progression among PWID. We considered two epidemiological situations. A declining epidemic, based on the situation in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and a stable HCV epidemic, as observed in other settings. Data on HCV incidence, prevalence, treatment setting and uptake were derived from observed data among PWID in Amsterdam. We assessed the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER, costs in €/quality-adjusted life year (QALY)) of four treatment strategies: 1) PegIFN/RBV; 2) sofosbuvir/RBV for genotype 2-3 and dual DAA for genotype 1-4; 3) Dual DAA for all genotypes; 4) Dual DAA with 3x treatment uptake.
In both types of epidemic, dual DAA therapy was most cost-effective strategy. In the declining epidemic, dual DAA yielded an ICER of 344 €/QALY while in the stable epidemic dual DAA led to cost-savings. Scaling-up treatment was also highly cost-effective. Our results were robust over a range of sensitivity analyses.
HCV treatment with DAA-containing regimens is a highly cost-effective intervention among PWID. Based on the economic and population benefits of scaling-up treatment, stronger efforts are needed to achieve higher uptake rates among PWID.