Background. Because of logistical and economic issues, in Egypt, as in other resource-limited settings, decision makers should determine for which patients hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment should be prioritized. We assessed the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of different treatment initiation strategies.Methods. Using a Markov model, we simulated HCV disease in chronically infected patients in Egypt, to compare lifetime costs, quality-adjusted life expectancy (QALE), and the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of different treatment initiation strategies.Results. Immediate treatment of patients at stages F1/F2/F3 was less expensive and more effective than delaying treatment until more severe stages or not providing treatment (in patients diagnosed at F1: QALE = 18.32 years if treatment at F1 vs 18.22 if treatment at F2). Treatment of F4 patients was more effective than no treatment at all (QALE = 10.33 years vs 8.77 years) and was cost-effective (ICER = $1915/quality-adjusted life-year [QALY]). When considering that affordable triple therapies, including new direct-acting antivirals, will be available starting in 2016, delaying treatment until stage F2, then treating all patients regardless of their disease stage after 2016, was found to be cost-effective (ICER = $33/QALY).Conclusions. In Egypt, immediate treatment of patients with fibrosis stage F1-F3 who present to care is less expensive and more effective than delaying treatment. However, immediate treatment at stage F1 is only slightly more effective than waiting for disease to progress to stage F2 before starting treatment and is sensitive to the forthcoming availability of new treatments. Treating patients at stage F4 is highly effective and cost-effective. In Egypt, decision makers should prioritize treatment for F4 patients and delay treatment for F1 patients who present to care. © 2014 The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. All rights reserved.
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