Cost-effectiveness evaluation of a quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccine in Belgium

Lieven Annemans, Vanessa Rémy, James Oyee, Nathalie Largeron
PharmacoEconomics 2009, 27 (3): 231-45

BACKGROUND: The introduction of a quadrivalent human papillomavirus (HPV; types 6, 11, 16, 18) vaccine is expected to significantly reduce the burden of cervical cancer, cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN), genital warts and other HPV-related diseases.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the cost effectiveness of providing a quadrivalent (6,11,16,18) HPV vaccine programme in adolescent females aged 12 years in addition to the existing cervical cancer screening programme in Belgium.

METHODS: A Markov state-transition model was developed for the Belgian context in order to evaluate the long-term impact of vaccinating a cohort of girls aged 12 years alongside the existing screening programme. Women were followed until the age of 85 years. A vaccine that would prevent 100% of diseases associated with HPV-6, -11, -16 and -18, with lifetime duration of efficacy, 80% coverage, in conjunction with current screening, was compared with screening alone. For this analysis, 35% of cases of CIN-1, 55% of CIN-2/3, 75% of cervical cancer and 90% of genital warts were considered to be attributable to HPV-6, -11, -16 or -18. The model estimated lifetime risks and total lifetime healthcare costs, survival and QALYs for cervical cancer, CIN and genital warts. Outcomes validation was applied. Model outcomes also included incremental costs per life-year gained and incremental costs per QALY gained. The analysis was conducted from the perspective of the Belgian healthcare payer, and costs were in year 2006 values.

RESULTS: The model estimated a reduction in the lifetime risk of cervical cancer from 0.94% to 0.34%, therefore preventing 362 cases of cervical cancer and 131 related deaths in a cohort of 60,000 girls aged 12 years in Belgium. The base-case scenario suggests quadrivalent HPV vaccination in addition to current cervical screening in Belgium to be cost effective at euro 10,546 per QALY. This is within the accepted range of cost-effective interventions in Europe. This cost effectiveness is maintained for different parameter assumptions in the sensitivity analysis, with the exception of very high discount rates for costs and medical benefits, but, even in the worst case, ratios were still less than euro 50,000 per QALY. Even when a separate scenario modelled the requirement for a booster vaccination to sustain a lifetime duration of protection, the results remained cost effective at eruo 17,388 per QALY.

CONCLUSIONS: Vaccination with a quadrivalent HPV vaccine appears to be a cost-effective public health intervention in conjunction with the existing screening programme in Belgium. The additional costs of introducing vaccination to the established screening programme would be offset by the potential savings from not having to treat the diseases caused by HPV-6, -11, -16 or -18.

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