New Oral Hepatitis C Virus Treatment Works But Will Cost Billions

Jagpreet Chhatwal Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Department of Health Services Research Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences The University of Texas MD Anderson Center Houston, TXMedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jagpreet Chhatwal Ph.D
.
Assistant Professor, Department of Health Services Research
Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences
The University of Texas MD Anderson Center
Houston, TX

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Chhatwal: More than two million people in the U.S. are infected with Hepatitis C (HCV), a virus found in the liver. In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force both recommended a one-time hepatitis C screening for baby boomers – people born between the years 1946 and 1964. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration approved the medications sofosbuvir and ledipasvir for Hepatitis C treatment. The newly approved oral regimen comes at a staggering price to payers – as much as $1,125 per day. As a result, several payers have questioned if the price is justified.

The study results show that using new therapies is cost-effective in the majority of patients. However, the budget required to treat all eligible patients would be $136 billion over the next five years. Compared with the old drugs, new therapies would cost an additional $65 billion, whereas the cost offsets would be only $16 billion.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Chhatwal: While lower drug prices will help, that’s not sufficient. Both the government and private insurers will need additional resources to effectively manage this epidemic. Until more resources become available, physicians need to prioritize the new drugs to the sickest of patients.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Chhatwal: The case of hepatitis C highlights the role of cost-effectiveness and drug costs at health policy level. Clearly, economics need to play an important part of improving the health care system so that access to new treatments can be improved.

Citation::

Cost-Effectiveness and Budget Impact of Hepatitis C Virus Treatment With Sofosbuvir and Ledipasvir in the United States

Jagpreet Chhatwal, PhD; Fasiha Kanwal, MD, MSHS; Mark S. Roberts, MD, MPP; and Michael A. Dunn, MD
Ann Intern Med. 2015;162(6):397-406. doi:10.7326/M14-1336

[wysija_form id=”2″]

 

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jagpreet Chhatwal Ph.D. (2015). New Oral Hepatitis C Virus Treatment Works But Will Cost Billions