Publications & Reports

Additional resource needs for viral hepatitis elimination through universal health coverage: projections in 67 low-income and middle-income countries, 2016-30.

Tordrup D, Hutin Y, Stenberg K, Lauer JA, Hutton DW, Toy M, Scott N, Bulterys M, Ball A, Hirnschall G
WHO Collaborating Centre for Pharmaceutical Policy and Regulation, University of Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands; Department of HIV and Global Hepatitis Programme, and Department of Health Systems Governance and Financing, WHO, Geneva, Switzerland.


BACKGROUND: The World Health Assembly calls for elimination of viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030 (ie, -90% incidence and -65% mortality). However, WHO’s 2017 cost projections to achieve health-related Sustainable Development Goals did not include the resources needed for hepatitis testing and treatment. We aimed to estimate the incremental commodity cost of adding scaled up interventions for testing and treatment of hepatitis to WHO’s investment scenarios. METHODS: We added modelled costs for implementing WHO recommended hepatitis testing and treatment to the 2017 WHO cost projections. We quantified additional requirements for diagnostic tests, medicines, health workers' time, and programme support across 67 low-income and middle-income countries, from 2016-30. A progress scenario scaled up interventions and a more ambitious scenario was modelled to reach elimination by 2030. We used 2018 best available prices of diagnostics and generic medicines. We estimated total costs and the additional investment needed over the projection of the 2016 baseline cost. FINDINGS: The 67 countries considered included 230 million people living with hepatitis B virus (HBV) and 52 million people living with hepatitis C virus (HCV; 90% and 73% of the world’s total, respectively). Under the progress scenario, 3250 million people (2400 million for HBV and 850 million for HCV) would be tested and 58.2 million people (24.1 million for HBV and 34.1 million for HCV) would be treated (total additional cost US$ 27.1 billion). Under the ambitious scenario, 11 631 million people (5502 million for HBV and 6129 million for HCV) would be tested and 93.8 million people (32.2 million for HBV and 61.6 million for HCV) would be treated (total additional cost $58.7 billion), averting 4.5 million premature deaths and leading to a gain of 51.5 million healthy life-years by 2030. However, if affordable HCV medicines remained inaccessible in 13 countries where medicine patents are protected, the additional cost of the ambitious scenario would increase to $118 billion. Hepatitis elimination would account for a 1.5% increase to the WHO ambitious health-care strengthening scenario costs, avert an additional 4.6% premature deaths, and add an additional 9.6% healthy life-years from 2016-30. INTERPRETATION: Access to affordable medicines in all countries will be key to reach hepatitis elimination. This study suggests that elimination is feasible in the context of universal health coverage. It points to commodities as key determinants for the overall price tag and to options for cost reduction strategies. FUNDING: WHO, United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Unitaid.

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  • Journal: The Lancet. Global Health
  • Published: 25/07/2019
  • Volume: 7
  • Issue: 9
  • Pagination: e1180-e1188