BackgroundHCV direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) are produced in India at low cost. However, concerns surrounding reinfection and budgetary impact limit treatment scale-up in India. We evaluate the cost-effectiveness and budgetary impact of HCV treatment in India, including reinfection.
MethodsA closed cohort Markov model of HCV disease progression, treatment, and reinfection was parameterized. We compared treatment by fibrosis stage (F2-F4 or F0-F4) to no treatment from a health care payer perspective. Costs (2017 USD$, based on India-specific data) and health utilities (in quality-adjusted life years, QALYs) were attached to each health state. We assumed DAAs with 90% sustained viral response at $900/treatment and 1%/year reinfection, varied in the sensitivity analysis from 0.1-15%. We deemed the intervention cost-effective if the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) fell below India's per capita GDP ($1,709). We assessed the budgetary impact of treating all diagnosed individuals.
ResultsHCV treatment for diagnosed F2-F4 individuals was cost-saving (net costs -$2,881 and net QALYs 3.18/person treated; negative ICER) compared to no treatment. HCV treatment remained cost-saving with reinfection rates of 15%/year. Treating all diagnosed individuals was likely cost-effective compared to delay until F2 (mean ICER $1,586/QALY gained, 67% of simulations falling under the $1,709 threshold) with 1%/year reinfection. For all scenarios, annual retesting for reinfection was more cost-effective than the current policy (one-time retest). Treating all diagnosed individuals and reinfections results in net costs of $445-1,334 million over 5 years (<0.25% of total health care expenditure over 5 years), and cost-savings within 14 years.
ConclusionsHCV treatment was highly cost-effective in India, despite reinfection. Annual retesting for reinfection was cost-effective, supporting a policy change towards more frequent retesting. A comprehensive HCV treatment scale-up plan is warranted in India.