, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 8-11

Cost-effectiveness of periconceptional supplementation of folic acid

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Abstract

Background: Supplementation of folic acid prior to and in the beginning of pregnancy may prevent neural tube defects (NTDs) in newborns – such as spina bifida – and possibly other congenital malformations.Objective: To estimate cost effectiveness of periconceptional supplementation of folic acid using pharmaco‐economic model calculation.Method: Probabilities for NTDs, risk reductions through periconceptional supplementation of folic acid and lifetime costs of care for children with spina bifida were estimated using Dutch registrations and international literature.Main outcome measure: Cost effectiveness was expressed in net costs per discounted life‐year gained. Cost effectiveness was calculated in the baseline and in sensitivity analysis.Results: Estimated cost effectiveness of periconceptional supplementation of folic acid amounts to NLG 3900(D1800) in the base case. In sensitivity analysis cost effectiveness mostly remains below NLG 10.000(D4500).Conclusion: Periconceptional supplementation of folic acid shows a favorable cost effectiveness. From pharmaco‐economic point of view this justifies further stimulation of folic‐acid supplementation prior to pregnancy. This can be done through targeted education by health‐care workers, such as pharmacists.