Achieving SVR can lessen economic impact of HCV, save $3 billion

WASHINGTON — By treating hepatitis C virus with the latest medications and achieving sustained virologic response, physicians can predict a recoup of nearly $3 billion of the estimated $7 billion financial loss seen in the United States, according to an expert here at DDW 2015.

“HCV negatively impacts hepatitis C worker productivity and it can produce significant economic burden to society, in both five European countries and the United States. Work productivity improvement, particularly in presenteeism was noted if you can achieve cure with SVR12,” Zobair Younossi, MD, chairman of the department of medicine, Inova Fairfax Hospital, and vice president for research of Inova Health System, said during his presentation. “When assessing the economic burden of hepatitis C, it’s important that all these economic benefits to be assessed. … When you’re assessing the gain of hepatitis C or the burden of hepatitis C, all direct and indirect costs should be included. When you’re looking at these benefits, they could potentially offset some of the cost.”

Data for these estimates — SVR rates and work productivity — were taken from the ION 1, 2 and 3 studies and the patients were stratified by employment, treated and SVR achieved and non-treated who did not achieve SVR. The treatment of choice was Harvoni (ledipasvir/sofosbuvir, Gilead Sciences).

Cost of total work hours lost per patient was calculated using publicly available country-specific data that included working hours per day, working days per year and labor costs. Total productivity costs were calculated by multiplying the cost of total work hours lost per patient by the number of patients in each scenario, derived from population percentages and prevalence of HCV genotype 1.

In the United States, baseline absenteeism among patients with HCV was estimated to be 7.83% while post-SVR absenteeism was 4.53% (P < .05). In Europe, baseline was 9.12% while post-SVR was 7.34% (P < .05).

Using an estimate of 8 hours per day, 250 days per year and $24.29 per hour, Younossi and colleagues estimated that work productivity impairment in the United States was $7.1 billion. After SVR was achieved, they estimated a savings of $2.7 billion. In Europe, baseline loss was estimated to be $2.6 billion while post-SVR savings was estimated to be $435 million.

In the absence of long-term data on the impact on productivity, a sustained benefit on productivity loss after achieving SVR12 was assumed, Younossi said.