Major Thalassemia, Screening or Treatment: An Economic Evaluation Study in Iran

Document Type : Original Article

Authors

1 Department of Public Health, School of Public Health, Maragheh University of Medical Sciences, Maragheh, Iran

2 Department of Health Management & Economics, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Healthcare Administration, School of Public Health, Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences, Ahvaz, Iran

4 Department of Health Information Technology, Amol Faculty of Paramedical Sciences, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Sari, Iran

5 Department of Health Management and Social Development Research Center, Faculty of Health, Golestan University of Medical Sciences, Gorgan, Iran

6 Department of Environmental Health Research Center, Faculty of Health, Golestan University of Medical Sciences, Gorgan, Iran

Abstract

Background
Beta-thalassemia minor and thalassemia major are an autosomal recessive disease with hypochromic, microcytic anemia, and morbidities, Today, therapeutic advances have significantly improved the life expectancy of thalassemia major patients, but at the cost of financial toxicity. The present study aimed to investigate the possibility of increasing the funding for thalassemia screening programs and comparing the cost-effectiveness of screening for thalassemia in the treatment of the patients.
 
Methods
In this study, screening for thalassemia minor was compared with the treatment of thalassemia major patients. A decision tree model was used for analysis. A hospital database, supplemented with a review of published literature, was used to derive input parameters for the model. A lifetime study horizon was used and future costs and consequences were discounted at 3%. The approach of purchases of services was used to evaluate the screening test costs for patients with thalassemia major. Also, a bottom-up method was applied to estimate other screening and treatment costs. All the costs were calculated over one year. The number of gained quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) was calculated using the EQ-5D questionnaire in the evaluated patients.
 
Results
In this study, 26.97 births of patients with thalassemia major were prevented by screening techniques. On the other hand, total screening costs for patients with thalassemia major were estimated equal to US$ 879 879, while the costs of preventing the birth of each thalassaemia major patient was US$ 32 624 by screening techniques. In comparison, the cost of managing a patient with thalassemia major is about US$ 136 532 per year. The life time QALYs for this is 11.8 QALYs. Results are presented using a societal perspective. Incremental cost per QALY gained with screening as compared with managing thalassaemia major was US$ 11 571.
 
Conclusion
Screening is a long-term value for money intervention that is highly cost effective and its long-term clinical and economic benefits outweigh those of managing thalassaemia major patients.

Keywords


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