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Addict Behav. 2012 Jan;37(1):1-10. doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2011.07.042. Epub 2011 Aug 5.

Economic evaluation of drug abuse treatment and HIV prevention programs in pregnant women: a systematic review.

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Yale School of Public Health and Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


Drug abuse and transmission of HIV during pregnancy are public health problems that adversely affect pregnant women, their children and surrounding communities. Programs that address this vulnerable population have the ability to be cost-effective due to resulting cost savings for mother, child and society. Economic evaluations of programs that address these issues are an important tool to better understand the costs of services and create sustainable healthcare systems. This study critically examined economic evaluations of drug abuse treatment and HIV prevention programs in pregnant women. A systematic review was conducted using the criteria recommended by the Panel on Cost-Effectiveness in Health and Medicine and the British Medical Journal (BMJ) checklist for economic evaluations. The search identified 6 economic studies assessing drug abuse treatment for pregnant women, and 12 economic studies assessing programs that focus on prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV. Results show that many programs for drug abuse treatment and PMTCT among pregnant women are cost-effective or even cost-saving. This study identified several shortcomings in methodology and lack of standardization of current economic evaluations. Efforts to address methodological challenges will help make future studies more comparable and have more influence on policy makers, clinicians and the public.

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