Researchers Recommend Universal Screening for Hepatitis C

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Researchers Recommend Universal Screening for Hepatitis C

Physicians are encountering a growing number of younger patients who are testing positive for hepatitis C virus

Physicians are encountering a growing number of younger patients who are testing positive for hepatitis C virus (HCV) fueled largely by the opioid crisis impacting communities around the country. That increase and more effective and tolerable drug regimens for HCV infection, means one-time universal screening of all adults for HCV is now cost effective and recommended, say physician-researchers in the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine.

The researchers used a computerized Markov state transition model to estimate the impact of one-time universal screening of adults 18 years of age and older compared either with no screening at all or with the current guideline-based strategy of largely screening baby boomers–adults born between 1945 and 1965–for HCV, says Mark Eckman, MD, the Posey Professor of Clinical Medicine and Director of UC Division of General Internal Medicine.

They measured effectiveness with quality-adjusted life years (QALYs)–that’s the gain of in life expectancy adjusted for the quality of life–and costs from the health system perspective in 2017 U.S. dollars, says Eckman, lead author of the study and a UC Health physician. Universal screening followed by guideline-based treatment of all those with chronic HCV infection has an incremental cost effectiveness ratio of $11,378 per quality-adjusted life year compared with birth cohort-based screening alone.

“Most health economists consider anything less than $50,000 per quality-adjusted life year to be highly cost-effective,” says Eckman.

Read on: Researchers Recommend Universal Screening for Hepatitis C

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