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An economic evaluation of the cost-effectiveness of opt-out hepatitis B and hepatitis C testing in an Emergency Department setting in the UK.
Jack Williams, Peter Vickerman, Sam Douthwaite, Gaia Nebbia, Laura Hunter, Terry Wong, Murad Ruf, Alec Miners.
Objectives The prevalence of hepatitis is high in emergency department (ED) attendees in the United Kingdom, with a prevalence of up to 2% for hepatitis B (HBV) HBsAg, and 2.9% for hepatitis C (HCV) RNA. The aim of this paper is to perform an economic evaluation of opt-out ED-based HCV and HBV testing. Methods A Markov model was developed to analyze the cost-effectiveness of opt-out HCV and HBV testing in EDs in the UK. The model used data from UK studies of ED testing to parameterize the HCV and HBV prevalence (1.4% HCV RNA, 0.84% HBsAg), test costs, and intervention effects (contact rates and linkage to care). For HCV, we used an antibody test cost of £3.64 and RNA test cost of £68.38, and assumed direct-acting antiviral treatment costs of £10 000. For HBV, we used a combined HBsAg and confirmatory test cost of £5.79. We also modeled the minimum prevalence of HCV (RNA-positive) and HBV (HBsAg) required to make ED testing cost-effective at a £20 000 willingness to pay per quality-adjusted life-year threshold. Results In the base case, ED testing was highly cost-effective, with HCV and HBV testing costing £8019 and £9858 per quality-adjusted life-year gained, respectively. HCV and HBV ED testing remained cost-effective at 0.25% HCV RNA or HBsAg prevalence or higher. Conclusions Emergency department testing for HCV and HBV is highly likely to be cost-effective in many areas across the UK depending on their prevalence. Ongoing studies will help evaluate ED testing across different regions to inform testing guidelines.