Background and aims Hepatitis C virus (HCV) and its sequelae present a significant source of economic and societal burden. Introduction of highly effective curative therapies has made HCV elimination attainable. The study used a predictive model to assess the clinical and economic impact of implementing national screening and treatment policies toward HCV elimination in Korea. Methods A previously validated Markov disease progression model of HCV infection was employed to analyze the clinical and economic impact of various strategies for HCV diagnosis and treatment in Korea. In this analysis, the model compared the clinical and economic outcomes of current HCV-related interventions in Korea (7,000 patients treated and 4,200 patients newly diagnosed annually, starting in 2017) to four elimination scenarios: 1) initiating sufficient diagnosis and treatment interventions to meet the World Health Organization's GHSS elimination targets by 2030, 2) delaying initiation of interventions by one year, 3) delaying initiation of interventions by two years and 4) accelerating initiation of interventions to meet elimination targets by 2025. Modelled historical incidence of HCV was calibrated to match a viremic HCV prevalence of 0.44% in 2009. Elimination scenarios required 24,000 treatments and 34,000 newly diagnosed patients annually, starting in 2018, to reach the 2030 targets. Results Compared to current “status quo” interventions, elimination (or accelerated elimination by 2025) would avert 23,700 (27,000) incident cases of HCV, 1,300 (1,400) liver-related deaths (LRDs) and 2,900 (3,100) cases of end-stage liver disease (ESLD) over the 2017-2030 time period. Postponing interventions by one (or two) years would avert 21,100 (18,600) new HCV infections, 920 (660) LRDs and 2,000 (1,400) cases of ESLD by 2030. Following elimination or accelerated elimination strategies would save 860 million USD or 1.1 billion USD by 2030, respectively, compared to the status quo, requiring an up-front investment in prevention that decreases spending on liver-related complications and death. Conclusions By projecting the impact of interventions and tracking progress toward GHSS elimination targets using modelling, we demonstrate that Korea can prevent significant morbidity, mortality and spending on HCV. Results should serve as the backbone for policy and decision-making, demonstrating how aggressive prevention measures are designed to reduce future costs and increase the health of the public.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)