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Cost-effectiveness of scaling-up HCV prevention and treatment in the United States for people who inject drugs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
Early online date2 Aug 2019
DateAccepted/In press - 28 Jun 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 2 Aug 2019


To examine the cost-effectiveness of hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment of people who inject drugs (PWID), combined with medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and syringe-service programs (SSP), to tackle the increasing HCV epidemic in the United States.

HCV transmission and disease progression models with cost-effectiveness analysis using a health-care perspective.

Rural Perry County, KY (PC) and urban San Francisco, CA (SF), USA. Compared with PC, SF has a greater proportion of PWID with access to MAT or SSP. HCV treatment of PWID is negligible in both settings.

PWID data were collected between 1998 and 2015 from Social Networks Among Appalachian People, U Find Out, Urban Health Study and National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System studies.

Interventions and comparator
Three intervention scenarios modeled: baseline—existing SSP and MAT coverage with HCV screening and treatment with direct-acting antiviral for ex-injectors only as per standard of care; intervention 1—scale-up of SSP and MAT without changes to treatment; and intervention 2—scale-up as intervention 1 combined with HCV screening and treatment for current PWID.

Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) and uncertainty using cost-effectiveness acceptability curves. Benefits were measured in quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs).

For both settings, intervention 2 is preferred to intervention 1 and the appropriate comparator for intervention 2 is the baseline scenario. Relative to baseline, for PC intervention 2 averts 1852 more HCV infections, increases QALYS by 3095, costs $21.6 million more and has an ICER of $6975/QALY. For SF, intervention 2 averts 36 473 more HCV infections, increases QALYs by 7893, costs $872 million more and has an ICER of $11 044/QALY. The cost-effectiveness of intervention 2 was robust to several sensitivity analysis.

Hepatitis C screening and treatment for people who inject drugs, combined with medication-assisted treatment and syringe-service programs, is a cost-effective strategy for reducing hepatitis C burden in the United States.

    Research areas

  • Hepatitis C, persons who inject drugs, opioid, modeling, cost-effectiveness analysis, medication-assisted treatment, syringe-service programs, direct-acting-antiviral HCV treatment



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    Embargo ends: 2/08/20

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