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Cost-utility analysis of an alcohol policy in Thailand: a case study of a random breath testing intervention.

BACKGROUND: Road traffic injuries are a major concern worldwide, with Thailand facing high accident mortality rates. Drunk driving is a key factor that requires countermeasures. Random breath testing (RBT) and mass media campaigns recommended by the World Health Organisation intend to deter such behaviour. This study aimed to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of implementing RBT in combination with mass media campaigns in Thailand.

METHODS: A Markov simulation model estimated the lifetime cost and health benefits of RBT with mass media campaigns compared to mass media campaigns only. Direct medical and non-medical care costs were evaluated from a societal perspective. The health outcomes were quality-adjusted life years (QALY). Costs and outcomes were discounted by 3% per year. Subgroup analyses were conducted for both sexes, different age groups, and different drinking levels. Probabilistic sensitivity analyses were conducted over 5,000 independent iterations using a predetermined distribution for each parameter.

RESULTS: This study suggested that RBT with mass media campaigns compared with mass media campaigns increases the lifetime cost by 24,486 THB per male binge drinker and 10,475 THB per female binge drinker (1 USD = 35 THB) and results in a QALY gain of 0.43 years per male binge drinker and 0.10 years per female binge drinker. The intervention yielded incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) of 57,391 and 103,850 THB per QALY for male and female drinkers, respectively. Moreover, the intervention was cost-effective for all age groups and drinking levels. The intervention yielded the lowest ICER among male-dependent drinkers. Sensitivity analyses showed that at a willingness-to-pay (WTP) threshold of 160,000 per QALY gained, the RBT combined with mass media campaigns had a 99% probability of being optimal for male drinkers, whereas the probability for females was 91%.

CONCLUSIONS: RBT and mass media campaigns in Thailand are cost-effective for all ages and drinking levels in both sexes. The intervention yielded the lowest ICER among male-dependent drinkers. Given the current Thai WTP threshold, sensitivity analyses showed that the intervention was more cost-effective for males than females.

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