Background: Hepatitis C virus' (HCV) chronic prevalence among pregnant women in the United States doubled nationally from 2009-2014 (~0.7%), yet many cases remain undiagnosed. Screening pregnant women is not recommended by the Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, despite new American Association For the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD)/Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) guidelines recommending screening for this group. We assessed the cost-effectiveness of HCV screening for pregnant women in the United States.
Methods: An HCV natural history Markov model was used to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of universal HCV screening of pregnant women, followed by treatment after pregnancy, compared to background risk-based screening from a health-care payer perspective. We assumed a HCV chronic prevalence of 0.73% among pregnant women, based on national data. We assumed no Medicaid reimbursement restrictions by fibrosis stage at baseline, but explored differing restrictions in sensitivity analyses. We assessed costs (in US dollars) and health outcomes (in quality-adjusted life-years [QALYs]) over a lifetime horizon, using new HCV drug costs of $25 000/treatment. We assessed mean incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) under a willingness-to-pay threshold of $50 000/QALY gained. We additionally evaluated the potential population impact.
Results: Universal antenatal screening was cost-effective in all treatment eligibility scenarios (mean ICER <$3000/QALY gained). Screening remained cost-effective at a prevalence of 0.07%, which is the lowest estimated prevalence in the United States (in Hawaii). Screening the ~5.04 million pregnant women in 2018 could result in the detection and treatment of 33 000 women, based on current fibrosis restrictions.
Conclusions: Universal screening for HCV among pregnant women in the United States is cost-effective and should be recommended nationally.
- hepatitis C virus