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J Int AIDS Soc. 2018 Mar;21(3):e25085. doi: 10.1002/jia2.25085.

The cost-effectiveness and budgetary impact of a dolutegravir-based regimen as first-line treatment of HIV infection in India.

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Medical Practice Evaluation Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
Y. R. Gaitonde Centre for AIDS Research and Education, Voluntary Health Services, Chennai, India.
Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, CT, USA.
Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.
The Fenway Institute, Fenway Health, Boston, MA, USA.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA.
HIV/STI/Hepatitis Unit, Department of Communicable Diseases, World Health Organization Regional Office for South-East Asia, New Delhi, India.
Division of General Internal Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
Division of Infectious Diseases, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
Division of Infectious Diseases, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA.



Dolutegravir (DTG)-based antiretroviral therapy (ART) is recommended for first-line HIV treatment in the US and Europe. Efavirenz (EFV)-based regimens remain the standard of care (SOC) in India. We examined the clinical and economic impact of DTG-based first-line ART in the setting of India's recent guidelines change to treating all patients with HIV infection regardless of CD4 count.


We used a microsimulation of HIV disease, the Cost-Effectiveness of Preventing AIDS Complications (CEPAC)-International model, to project outcomes in ART-naive patients under two strategies: (1) SOC: EFV/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF)/lamivudine (3TC); and (2) DTG: DTG + TDF/3TC. Regimen-specific inputs, including virologic suppression at 48 weeks (SOC: 82% vs. DTG: 90%) and annual costs ($98 vs. $102), were informed by clinical trial data and other sources and varied widely in sensitivity analysis. We compared incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs), measured in $/year of life saved (YLS), to India's per capita gross domestic product ($1600 in 2015). We compared the budget impact and HIV transmission effects of the two strategies for the estimated 444,000 and 916,000 patients likely to initiate ART in India over the next 2 and 5 years.


Compared to SOC, DTG improved 5-year survival from 76.7% to 83.0%, increased life expectancy from 22.0 to 24.8 years (14.0 to 15.5 years, discounted), averted 13,000 transmitted HIV infections over 5 years, increased discounted lifetime care costs from $3040 to $3240, and resulted in a lifetime ICER of $130/YLS, less than 10% of India's per capita GDP in 2015. DTG maintained an ICER below 50% of India's per capita GDP as long as the annual three-drug regimen cost was ≤$180/year. Over a 2- or 5-year horizon, total undiscounted outlays for HIV-related care were virtually the same for both strategies.


A generic DTG-based regimen is likely to be cost-effective and should be recommended for initial therapy of HIV infection in India.


ART ; HIV ; India; cost-effectiveness; dolutegravir; modelling

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