Cost-effectiveness of treating chronic hepatitis C virus with direct-acting antivirals in people who inject drugs in Australia

Nick Scott, David M Iser, Alexander Thompson, Joseph S Doyle, Margaret E Hellard

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28 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Aim:: Reducing the burden of hepatitis C virus (HCV) related liver disease will require treating people who inject drugs (PWID), the group at most risk of infection and transmission. We determine the cost-effectiveness of treating PWID with interferon-free direct-acting antiviral therapy in Australia. Methods:: Using a deterministic model of HCV treatment and liver disease progression, including a fixed rate of re-infection, the expected healthcare costs and quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) of a cohort of newly HCV-infected PWID were calculated for: no treatment; treatment after initial infection ("early-treatment"); and treatment prior to developing compensated cirrhosis ("late-treatment"). Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) were used to compare scenarios. Results:: Late-treatment was cost-effective compared to no treatment, with a discounted average gain of 2.98 (95%confidence interval 2.88-5.22) QALYs per person for an additional cost of $15132 ($11246-18922), giving an ICER of $5078 ($2847-5295) per QALY gained. Compared to late-treatment, early-treatment gained a further discounted average of 2.27 (0.58-4.80) QALYs per person for $38794 ($34789-41367), giving an ICER of $17090 ($2847-63282), which was cost-effective in approximately 90% of Monte-Carlo uncertainty simulations. For every 100 newly HCV-infected PWID, there were an estimated 40 (39-56) eventual liver-related deaths without treatment, compared to 7 (6-11) and 8 (7-13) with early-treatment and late-treatment available respectively. Conclusions:: Treating HCV-infected PWID with new therapies is cost-effective and could prevent a significant number of liver-related deaths. Although late-treatment was the most cost-effective option, the cost per QALY gained for early-treatment compared to late-treatment is likely to be below unofficial Australian willingness to pay thresholds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)872-882
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Direct-acting antivirals
  • Hepatitis C virus
  • People who inject drugs

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