Cost and cost-effectiveness of tuberculosis treatment shortening: A model-based analysis

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Abstract

Background: Despite improvements in treatment success rates for tuberculosis (TB), current six-month regimen duration remains a challenge for many National TB Programmes, health systems, and patients. There is increasing investment in the development of shortened regimens with a number of candidates in phase 3 trials. Methods: We developed an individual-based decision analytic model to assess the cost-effectiveness of a hypothetical four-month regimen for first-line treatment of TB, assuming non-inferiority to current regimens of six-month duration. The model was populated using extensive, empirically-collected data to estimate the economic impact on both health systems and patients of regimen shortening for first-line TB treatment in South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, and Tanzania. We explicitly considered 'real world' constraints such as sub-optimal guideline adherence. Results: From a societal perspective, a shortened regimen, priced at USD1 per day, could be a cost-saving option in South Africa, Brazil, and Tanzania, but would not be cost-effective in Bangladesh when compared to one gross domestic product (GDP) per capita. Incorporating 'real world' constraints reduces cost-effectiveness. Patient-incurred costs could be reduced in all settings. From a health service perspective, increased drug costs need to be balanced against decreased delivery costs. The new regimen would remain a cost-effective option, when compared to each countries' GDP per capita, even if new drugs cost up to USD7.5 and USD53.8 per day in South Africa and Brazil; this threshold was above USD1 in Tanzania and under USD1 in Bangladesh. Conclusion: Reducing the duration of first-line TB treatment has the potential for substantial economic gains from a patient perspective. The potential economic gains for health services may also be important, but will be context-specific and dependent on the appropriate pricing of any new regimen.

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Gomez, G. B., Dowdy, D. W., Bastos, M. L., Zwerling, A., Sweeney, S., Foster, N., … Vassall, A. (2016). Cost and cost-effectiveness of tuberculosis treatment shortening: A model-based analysis. BMC Infectious Diseases, 16(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12879-016-2064-3

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