Hepatitis C virus drugs available in India not only increase life expectancy but also reduce lifetime health care costs by over $1,300 per person. Researchers found that the generic directly-acting antiviral (DAA) treatments available in India are cost effective.
“More than 9 million people are infected with Hepatitis C virus (HCV) in India, and more than 70 million worldwide,” said Jagpreet Chhatwal from Massachusetts General Hospital in the US.
“These persons are at risk of developing serious conditions such as cirrhosis and liver cancer, which can be fatal. However, only a fraction of them have been treated with these drugs so far,” Chhatwal said.
Researchers, including those from Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences in Uttar Pradesh, used a mathematical model to compare the outcomes of DAA treatment with those of no DAA treatment based on profiles of 30 hypothetical patients with characteristics typical of Indian patients with HCV infection.
Factors incorporated into the model included the natural history of HCV disease, the costs of DAA administration, the costs of treating the adverse outcomes of HCV disease, and quality of life of individuals infected with HCV.
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Researchers found that payback for the upfront costs of DAA drugs would be achieved in an average of less than 10 years.
Even though there was wide variation in the factors such as patient age, disease stage and viral genotype the results always indicated that generic DAA treatment reduced lifetime costs, researchers said.
“Our hypothesis was that treatment would be cost saving, given the low drug costs in India. However, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the full payback was achieved so soon after treatment,” said Chhatwal.
“These persons are at risk of developing serious conditions such as cirrhosis and liver cancer, which can be fatal. However, only a fraction of them have been treated with these drugs so far,” Chhatwal said. The study was published in the journal PLoS ONE.