Cost-effectiveness of scaling-up HCV prevention and treatment in the United States for people who inject drugs

Carolina Barbosa, Hannah Fraser, Thomas J. Hoerger, Alyssa Leib, Jennifer R. Havens, April Young, Alex Kral, Kimberly Page, Jennifer Evans, Jon Zibbell, Susan Hariri, Claudia Vellozzi, Lina Nerlander, John W. Ward, Peter Vickerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Aims: To examine the cost-effectiveness of hepatitis C virus (HCV) treatment of people who inject drugs (PWID), combined with medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and syringe-service programs (SSP), to tackle the increasing HCV epidemic in the United States. Design: HCV transmission and disease progression models with cost-effectiveness analysis using a health-care perspective. Setting: Rural Perry County, KY (PC) and urban San Francisco, CA (SF), USA. Compared with PC, SF has a greater proportion of PWID with access to MAT or SSP. HCV treatment of PWID is negligible in both settings. Participants: PWID data were collected between 1998 and 2015 from Social Networks Among Appalachian People, U Find Out, Urban Health Study and National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System studies. Interventions and comparator: Three intervention scenarios modeled: baseline—existing SSP and MAT coverage with HCV screening and treatment with direct-acting antiviral for ex-injectors only as per standard of care; intervention 1—scale-up of SSP and MAT without changes to treatment; and intervention 2—scale-up as intervention 1 combined with HCV screening and treatment for current PWID. Measurements: Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) and uncertainty using cost-effectiveness acceptability curves. Benefits were measured in quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs). Findings: For both settings, intervention 2 is preferred to intervention 1 and the appropriate comparator for intervention 2 is the baseline scenario. Relative to baseline, for PC intervention 2 averts 1852 more HCV infections, increases QALYS by 3095, costs $21.6 million more and has an ICER of $6975/QALY. For SF, intervention 2 averts 36 473 more HCV infections, increases QALYs by 7893, costs $872 million more and has an ICER of $11 044/QALY. The cost-effectiveness of intervention 2 was robust to several sensitivity analysis. Conclusions: Hepatitis C screening and treatment for people who inject drugs, combined with medication-assisted treatment and syringe-service programs, is a cost-effective strategy for reducing hepatitis C burden in the United States.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2267-2278
Number of pages12
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Society for the Study of Addiction


  • Cost-effectiveness analysis
  • direct-acting antiviral HCV treatment
  • hepatitis C
  • medication-assisted treatment
  • opioid modeling
  • people who inject drugs
  • syringe-service programs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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