Jona T. Stahmeyer, Siegbert Rossol, Sebastian Liersch, Ines Guerra, Christian Krauth
Infections with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) are a global public health problem. Long-term consequences are the development of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Newly introduced direct acting antivirals, especially interferon-free regimens, have improved rates of sustained viral response above 90% in most patient groups and allow treating patients who were ineligible for treatment in the past. These new regimens have replaced former treatment and are recommended by current guidelines. However, there is an ongoing discussion on high pharmaceutical prices. Our aim was to assess the long-term cost-effectiveness of treating hepatitis C genotype 1 patients with sofosbuvir/ledipasvir (SOF/LDV) treatment in Germany.
Material and Methods
We used a Markov cohort model to simulate disease progression and assess cost-effectiveness. The model calculates lifetime costs and outcomes (quality-adjusted life years, QALYs) of SOF/LDV and other strategies. Patients were stratified by treatment status (treatment-naive and treatment-experienced) and absence/presence of cirrhosis. Different treatment strategies were compared to prior standard of care. Sensitivity analyses were performed to evaluate model robustness.
Base-case analyses results show that in treatment-naive non-cirrhotic patients treatment with SOF/LDV dominates the prior standard of care (is more effective and less costly). In cirrhotic patients an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of 3,383 €/QALY was estimated. In treatment-experienced patients ICERs were 26,426 €/QALY and 1,397 €/QALY for treatment-naive and treatment-experienced patients, respectively. Robustness of results was confirmed in sensitivity analyses.
Our analysis shows that treatment with SOF/LDV is cost-effective compared to prior standard of care in all patient groups considering international costs per QALY thresholds.