Direct Medical Care Costs Among Pegylated Interferon Plus Ribavirin-Treated and Untreated Chronic Hepatitis C Patients
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- Solomon, M., Bonafede, M., Pan, K. et al. Dig Dis Sci (2011) 56: 3024. doi:10.1007/s10620-011-1802-z
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Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a common and expensive infectious disease. The current standard of care for HCV infection, pegylated interferon with ribavirin (PEG–RBV), is costly and has a significant adverse event profile.
To quantify the direct economic burden of HCV infection and PEG–RBV treatment for HCV.
Using a large administrative claims database, we evaluated the medical and prescription drug costs of patients with HCV from 2002 to 2007. A cohort of patients with PEG–RBV was 1:1 propensity score-matched to a cohort of untreated HCV patients. Multivariate models adjusted for demographic and clinical characteristics in evaluating the effect of PEG–RBV treatment on direct medical expenditure.
The matched analysis included 20,002 patients. PEG–RBV-treated patients had higher total direct medical costs ($28,547 vs. $21,752; P < 0.001), outpatient pharmacy costs ($17,419 vs. $2,900; P < 0.001), and outpatient physician visit costs ($894 vs. $787; P < 0.001), but lower inpatient costs ($3,942 vs. $9,543; P < 0.001) and emergency room costs ($366 vs. $505; P < 0.001). After multivariate adjustment, PEG–RBV use was associated with an additional $9,423 in total direct medical costs and an additional $12,244 in HCV-related total medical costs.
Total HCV-related medical costs are higher for treated than untreated patients, driven mostly by higher outpatient pharmacy costs, which outweigh higher HCV-related inpatient costs incurred by untreated patients.