Economic Evaluation and Budget Impact Analysis of the Surveillance Program for Hepatocellular Carcinoma in Thai Chronic Hepatitis B Patients

  • Sangmala, Pannapa (Social and Administrative Pharmacy Excellence Research (SAPER) Unit, Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Mahidol University) ;
  • Chaikledkaew, Usa (Social and Administrative Pharmacy Excellence Research (SAPER) Unit, Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Mahidol University) ;
  • Tanwandee, Tawesak (Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital) ;
  • Pongchareonsuk, Petcharat (Social and Administrative Pharmacy Excellence Research (SAPER) Unit, Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Mahidol University)
  • Published : 2014.11.06


Background: The incidence rate and the treatment costs of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are high, especially in Thailand. Previous studies indicated that early detection by a surveillance program could help by down-staging. This study aimed to compare the costs and health outcomes associated with the introduction of a HCC surveillance program with no program and to estimate the budget impact if the HCC surveillance program were implemented. Materials and Methods: A cost utility analysis using a decision tree and Markov models was used to compare costs and outcomes during the lifetime period based on a societal perspective between alternative HCC surveillance strategies with no program. Costs included direct medical, direct non-medical, and indirect costs. Health outcomes were measured as life years (LYs), and quality adjusted life years (QALYs). The results were presented in terms of the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) in Thai THB per QALY gained. One-way and probabilistic sensitivity analyses were applied to investigate parameter uncertainties. Budget impact analysis (BIA) was performed based on the governmental perspective. Results: Semi-annual ultrasonography (US) and semi-annual ultrasonography plus alpha-fetoprotein (US plus AFP) as the first screening for HCC surveillance would be cost-effective options at the willingness to pay (WTP) threshold of 160,000 THB per QALY gained compared with no surveillance program (ICER=118,796 and ICER=123,451 THB/QALY), respectively. The semi-annual US plus AFP yielded more net monetary benefit, but caused a substantially higher budget (237 to 502 million THB) than semi-annual US (81 to 201 million THB) during the next ten fiscal years. Conclusions: Our results suggested that a semi-annual US program should be used as the first screening for HCC surveillance and included in the benefit package of Thai health insurance schemes for both chronic hepatitis B males and females aged between 40-50 years. In addition, policy makers considered the program could be feasible, but additional evidence is needed to support the whole prevention system before the implementation of a strategic plan.


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