Hepatitis C prevalences in the psychiatric setting: Cost-effectiveness of scaling-up screening and direct-acting antiviral therapy.
Girardin F., Painter C., Hearmon N., Eddowes L., Kaiser S., Negro F., Vernaz N.
Background & aimsPatients hospitalised because of mental illness often have risk factors for contracting HCV. Scaling-up HCV screening for all psychiatric inpatients as a case-detection strategy for viral elimination is underexplored. This study aimed to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of scaling-up HCV screening and treatment for psychiatry hospital admissions in Switzerland vs. the current standard-of-care risk-based approach, where only those with a history of substance misuse disorder are offered testing.MethodsHCV prevalence by history of substance misuse disorder was analysed in medical records from inpatient admissions to a Swiss psychiatry department. Cost-effectiveness was analysed from a healthcare provider perspective through a decision-tree screening model, using these HCV prevalence data. Model and parameter uncertainty were assessed using deterministic and probabilistic sensitivity analyses.ResultsPrevalence of HCV in psychiatry inpatients with a history of substance misuse disorder (n = 1,013) was 25.7%, compared with 3.5% among the remaining inpatients (n = 3,535). Scaling up HCV screening and treatment for all psychiatry admissions was cost-effective vs. the risk-based approach, with an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of US$9,188 per quality-adjusted life-year gained. The incremental cost-effectiveness ratio remained cost-effective considering a HCV prevalence as low as 0.07%. The population-level net monetary benefit of the generalised screening approach was US$435,156,348, with 917 additional patients per year detected and treated at a cost of US$3,294 per person (vs. US$2,122 under risk-based screening).ConclusionsScaling up HCV screening and treatment at diagnosis with all-oral, interferon-free regimens as a generalised approach for psychiatric admissions was cost-effective and could support reaching World Health Organization targets for HCV elimination by 2030.Lay summaryPatients hospitalised because of mental illness often have risk factors for HCV. We found that testing all psychiatry patients in hospital for HCV was cost-effective compared with testing only patients who have a history of substance misuse. Scaling up HCV testing and treatment could help to wipe out HCV.