Real-life costs of hepatitis C treatment

C.W. Helsper, H.L. Hellinga, G.A. van Essen, G.A. de Wit, M.J.M. Bonten, K.J. van Erpecum, A.I.M. Hoepelman, C. Richter, N.J. de Wit

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Hepatitis C virus infection is a serious health threat in today's society. Improved identification strategies have increased the number of patients undergoing the expensive treatment with ribavirin and peg-interferon, inducing a substantial economic burden. Methods: In a retrospective cohort study in three treatment centers in the Netherlands, files of patients treated between 2001 and 2010 were systematically searched for all cost-inducing treatment details. Costs of treatment resulting in sustained viral response (SVR), relapse, non-response and the costs per cured patient were specified for genotype and treatment setting. Determinants of costs were determined by multivariate linear regression. Results: The mean 'real-life' treatment costs excluding side effects for genotype 1/4 and genotype 2/3 were approximately € 12,900 and € 9900 for all patients, € 15,500 and € 10,100 for treatment resulting in SVR and € 16,800 and € 12,100 for relapse, respectively. Costs per cured patient were € 28,500 and € 15,400 respectively. The costs of non-response were approximately € 8000 for all genotypes. Costs of side effects can be high and are mainly caused by incidental treatment for neutropenia. Medication is the main component of treatment costs. Treatment costs were higher in the academic setting due to longer duration and higher costs of side effects. Regression analysis confirms duration as the main determinant of treatment costs excluding side effects. Conclusion: The 'real-life' costs of treatment are mainly determined by treatment duration, medication costs and costs of side effects. The costs of unsuccessful treatment are considerable as are the costs of side effects. Therefore, future research should aim at increasing SVR rates, reducing treatment duration and preventing side effects. © Van Zuiden Communications B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-153
JournalNetherlands Journal of Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes


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