Although infection with the hepatitis C virus increases health care costs overall, the specific impact of the disease’s progressive severity on health care costs has previously not been well studied.
"The severity of hepatitis C-related liver disease increases with age, and the aging hepatitis C population is likely to increase the economic burden of the infection on our health care system,” says Stuart C. Gordon, M.D., director of Hepatology at Henry Ford Hospital and lead author of the study.
The results of the study will be presented at the 62nd Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases in San Francisco this week.
It is estimated that the majority of the four million Americans with chronic hepatitis C virus infection remain undiagnosed and thus untreated. The increasing disease prevalence has created an aging population of patients with chronic hepatitis C infection and a resultant increase in the number of patients with cirrhosis, and, subsequently, the complications of cirrhosis (end-stage liver disease).
The Henry Ford study compared the economic burden for U.S. patients with chronic hepatitis C stratified by severity of liver disease in a large private health insurance claims database from 2003 to 2010. The database included claims for all prescription medications and all medical services submitted for payment.
Researchers looked at 53,796 patients with chronic hepatitis C: 41,858 (78%) without cirrhosis, 3,718 (7%) with compensated cirrhosis, and 8,220 (15%) with end-stage liver disease. Mean age was 49 years, 51 years, and 52 years respectively.
Mean health care costs (per month) were 32% and 247% higher for patients with compensated cirrhosis ($1,870) and end-stage liver disease ($4,931), compared to those without cirrhosis ($1,420) and these results were independent of age.
A similar trend is apparent for mean hepatitis C-related health care costs. Overall, 56% of total costs were hepatitis C-related and this proportion increased with disease severity (46%, 57%, and 71% for patients without cirrhosis, compensated cirrhosis, and end-stage liver disease, respectively).
Pharmacy, ambulatory, and inpatient care accounted for 90% of costs for hepatitis C patients without cirrhosis and 93% of the costs for those with compensated cirrhosis and end-stage liver disease.
The study estimated the annual health care costs to be $24,176 for patients with chronic hepatitis C infection. When looked at by disease stage, average annual costs were estimated to be $17,277 among patients with no cirrhosis, $22,752 among patients with compensated cirrhosis, and $59,995 annually among patients with end-stage liver disease.
Dr. Gordon indicated that the primary drivers of higher health care expenses were found to be inpatient costs for patients with end-stage liver disease and pharmacy costs for patients with compensated cirrhosis.
“As we see patients with more advanced liver disease, we see significantly more costs to the system. The key, therefore, is to treat and cure the infection early to prevent the consequences of more advanced disease and the associated economic burden,” says Dr. Gordon.
Current treatment for hepatitis C involves a cocktail of three drugs taken for 24-48 weeks with viral clearance “cure” rates of 65-80 percent.
Most people who are infected with hepatitis C remain without symptoms for years. The infection may lead to scarring of the liver (cirrhosis), liver cancer, the need for liver transplant, and potentially death
The study was funded by Genentech.
Maria Seyrig | EurekAlert!
Researchers simplify tiny structures' construction drip by drip
12.11.2018 | Princeton University, Engineering School
Mandibular movement monitoring may help improve oral sleep apnea devices
06.11.2018 | Elsevier
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences