Universal Hepatitis B screening of adults in the US is cost-effective and likely cost-saving

A new study shows that universal HBsAg screening of adults in the US general population for CHB is cost-effective and likely cost-saving compared to current CHB screening recommendations.

Below is the abstract from the article “Cost-Effectiveness of One-Time Universal Screening for Chronic Hepatitis B Infection in Adults in the United States” authored by Mehlika Toy, David Hutton, Aaron M Harris, Noele Nelson, Joshua A Salomon, and Samuel So It was published May 6th 2021 in “Clinical Infectious Diseases.”

Abstract

Background

An estimated 862,000 to 2.4 million people have chronic hepatitis B infection (CHB). Left undiagnosed and untreated CHB increases risk of death from liver cirrhosis or liver cancer. Hepatitis B screening is recommended for pregnant women and populations with increased CHB risk, but diagnosis rates remain low with only 33% of people with CHB aware of their infection.. This study aimed to assess the cost-effectiveness of universal adult screening for CHB.


Methods

We used a Markov model to calculate the costs, population health impact and cost-effectiveness of one-time universal screening and CHB monitoring and treatment compared to current practice. Sensitivity analysis was performed on model parameters to identify thresholds for cost-savings or cost-effectiveness based on willinness-to-pay of $50,000/QALY . The analysis assumed testing would be performed during routine healthcare visits, and generic tenofovir or entecavir would be dispensed for treatment. Testing costs were based on Medicare reimbursement rates.


Results

At an estimated 0.24% prevalence of undiagnosed CHB, universal HBsAg screening in adults 18-69 years old is cost-saving compared with current practice if antiviral treatment drug costs remain below $894 per year. Compared with current practice, universal screening would avert an additional 7.4 cases of compensated cirrhosis, 3.3 cases of decompensated cirrhosis, 5.5 cases of hepatocellular carcinoma, 1.9 liver transplants, and 10.3 HBV related deaths at a savings of $263,000 per 100,000 adults screened.


Conclusion

Universal HBsAg screening of adults in the US general population for CHB is cost-effective and likely cost-saving compared to current CHB screening recommendations.

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