Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Int J Technol Assess Health Care. 2005 Winter;21(1):55-65.

Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of initial combination therapy with interferon/peginterferon plus ribavirin in patients with chronic hepatitis C in Germany: a health technology assessment commissioned by the German Federal Ministry of Health and Social Security.

Author information

Institute of Medical Informatics, Biometry, and Epidemiology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany.



The purpose of this health technology assessment (HTA), commissioned by the German Federal Ministry of Health and Social Security, was to systematically review the evidence for the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of antiviral treatment (AVT) with interferon (INF) or peginterferon (PegIFN) in combination with ribavirin (RBV) in treatment-naïve patients with chronic hepatitis C (CHC) and to apply these data in the context of the German health-care system.


We performed a systematic literature search on effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of AVT and summarized results using meta-analysis and evidence tables. We applied the German Hepatitis C Model (GEHMO), a decision-analytic Markov model, to determine long-term clinical effectiveness, costs, and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICER) of the examined treatment strategies. Model parameters were derived from German databases, published international randomized clinical trials (RCT), and a Cochrane Review.


Overall, nine RCTs, two HTA reports, one Cochrane review, two meta-analyses, and seven economic evaluations met the inclusion criteria. These studies indicate that PegIFN + RBV achieved the highest sustained virological response rates (SVR) (54-61 percent), followed by IFN + RBV (38-54 percent) and IFN monotherapy (11-21 percent). Based on our meta-analysis, PegIFN + RBV reduced cases without SVR by 17 percent compared with INF + RBV. International cost-effectiveness studies indicate that INF+ RBV is cost-effective when compared with INF monotherapy. For PegIFN + RBV, our decision analysis yielded an ICER of 9,800 Euros per quality-adjusted life-year gained.


This HTA suggests that initial combination therapy prolongs life, improves quality of life, and is cost-effective in patients with CHC. Peginterferon plus ribavirin is the most effective and efficient treatment among the examined options. However, because not all chronic hepatitis C patients will develop progressive liver disease, a thorough assessment of the eligibility and appropriateness of treatment with combination therapy must be performed in each individual patient.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons


    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Support Center