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A province-by-province cost-effectiveness analysis and budget impact analysis of one-time birth cohort screening of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in Canada


Managing chronic hepatitis C is challenging, as the majority of those infected are asymptomatic. Therefore, to ensure treatments are administered before the onset of severe complications, screening is important. In Canada, uncertainty regarding the cost-effectiveness and budget impact of screening has led to conflicting recommendations. The objective of this study is to estimate the cost-effectiveness and budget-impact of one-time HCV screening. A state-transition model was developed to evaluate the cost-effectiveness and budget-impact between a risk-based screening strategy (current-practice) and a one-time screening strategy on three different birth-cohorts. Cost and prevalence data were obtained from administrative data. Progression and utility data were based on recent systematic reviews. We used a provincial payer-perspective, life-time time-horizon and a 1.5% discount rate for the cost-effectiveness analysis, and used a 10-year time-horizon and no discounting for the budget-impact analysis. One-time screening strategy would cost more and provide more health benefits than the risk-based screening for all birth cohorts. For those born after 1964, the incremental-cost-effectiveness-ratio (ICER) per quality-adjusted-life-year (QALY) of screening versus current-practice varied from $27,422/QALY to $42,191/QALY across different provinces. One-time screening of the cohort would cost an additional $2 million to $236 million across different provinces. For those born 1945–1964, the ICER of screening versus current-practice varied from $35,217/QALY to $48,197/QALY across different provinces. For the cohort born before 1945, the ICER of screening versus current-practice was not cost-effective at a willingness-to-pay threshold of $50,000/QALY across all provinces. Our cost-effectiveness analysis suggests that a one-time HCV screening program for those born after 1945 is cost-effective. Considering the budget impact relative to other funded recommended health services and technologies, HCV screening could be considered affordable.



Wong WWL, Haines A, Wong J, Hamadeh A, Krahn MD. Sci Rep. 2023; 13(1):13484. Epub 2023 Aug 18.

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