Cost-effectiveness of HPV vaccination in the prevention of cervical cancer in Malaysia

Wan Puteh Sharifa Ezat, Syed Aljunid
Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention: APJCP 2010, 11 (1): 79-90

INTRODUCTION: Cervical cancers (CC) demonstrate the second highest incidence of female cancers in Malaysia. The costs of chronic management have a high impact on nation's health cost and patient's quality of life that can be avoided by better screening and HPV vaccination.

METHODOLOGY: Respondents were interviewed from six public Gynecology-Oncology hospitals. Methods include experts' panel discussions to estimate treatment costs by severity and direct interviews with respondents using costing and SF-36 quality of life (QOL) questionnaires. Three options were compared i.e. screening via Pap smear; quadrivalent HPV Vaccination and combined strategy (screening plus vaccination). Scenario based sensitivity analysis using screening population coverage (40-80%) and costs of vaccine (RM 300-400/dose) were calculated.

RESULTS: 502 cervical pre invasive and invasive cervical cancer (ICC) patients participated in the study. Mean age was 53.3 +/- 11.2 years, educated till secondary level (39.4%), Malays (44.2%) and married for 27.73 +/- 12.1 years. Life expectancy gained from vaccination is 13.04 years and average Quality Adjusted Life Years saved (QALYs) is 24.4 in vaccinated vs 6.29 in unvaccinated. Cost/QALYs for Pap smear at base case is RM 1,214.96/QALYs and RM 1,100.01 at increased screening coverage; for HPV Vaccination base case is at RM 35,346.79 and RM 46,530.08 when vaccination price is higher. In combined strategy, base case is RM 11,289.58; RM 7,712.74 at best case and RM 14,590.37 at worst case scenario. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) showed that screening at 70% coverage or higher is highly cost effective at RM 946.74 per QALYs saved and this is followed by combined strategy at RM 35,346.67 per QALYs saved.

CONCLUSION: Vaccination increase life expectancy with better QOL of women when cancer can be avoided. Cost effective strategies will include increasing the Pap smear coverage to 70% or higher. Since feasibility and long term screening adherence is doubtful among Malaysian women, vaccination of young women is a more cost effective strategy against cervical cancers.

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