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Pharmacotherapy. 2007 Jun;27(6):813-24.

Peginterferon alfa-2a versus peginterferon alfa-2b as initial treatment of hepatitis C virus infection: a cost-utility analysis from the perspective of the Veterans Affairs Health Care System.

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  • 1Center for Health Outcomes and Pharmacoeconomic Research, College of Pharmacy, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA.



To assess the cost-utility of peginterferon alfa-2a plus ribavirin, peginterferon alfa-2b plus ribavirin, and no therapy for treatment-naïve patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection from the perspective of the Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system by using patient-reported utility scores.


Cost-utility analysis using a Markov model.


Veterans Affairs health care system.


Data for the model were obtained from clinical trials and published literature. Data from the VA health care system were used to define the patient cohorts.


A Markov model incorporating transition probabilities between disease health states that depend only on the current health state was developed to simulate the progression of HCV disease. The patient cohorts were a 45-year-old male cohort and a 55-year-old male cohort, each with liver fibrosis but no cirrhosis. The lifetime expected costs, quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) gained, and incremental net monetary benefit (INMB) with HCV treatments were determined for each cohort by genotype (genotype 1, and genotypes 2 and 3). Both peginterferon regimens were significantly more cost-effective than no treatment, although no significant differences in costs or QALYs were noted between peginterferon regimens. For the 45-year-old cohort with a genotype 1 infection, the INMB was $128,583 (95% confidence interval [CI] $79,279-$177,308) and $128,025 (95% CI $80,425-$173,448) versus no treatment for peginterferon alfa-2a plus ribavirin and peginterferon alfa-2b plus ribavirin, respectively. Treatment with either peginterferon regimen produced significantly lower lifetime HCV-related medical costs for genotype 2 or 3 infections, but not genotype 1.


Peginterferon alfa-2a plus ribavirin and peginterferon alfa-2b plus ribavirin were found to be cost-effective treatments for patients with HCV infections, particularly with genotypes 2 and 3. However, no significant differences in costs or efficacy were observed between these peginterferon treatment regimens.

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