Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

A cost-utility and budget impact analysis of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for severe thalassemic patients in Thailand

Pattara Leelahavarong12, Usa Chaikledkaew12*, Suradej Hongeng3, Vijj Kasemsup4, Yoel Lubell15 and Yot Teerawattananon1

Author Affiliations

1 Health Intervention and Technology Assessment Program (HITAP), 6th Floor, 6th Building, Department of Health, Ministry of Public Health, Tiwanon Road, Muang, Nonthaburi, Thailand

2 Division of Social and Administrative Pharmacy, Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Mahidol University, 447 Sri-Ayudthaya Road, Payathai, Ratchathewi, Bangkok, Thailand

3 Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, 270 Rama VI Road, Ratchathewi, Bangkok, Thailand

4 Community Medicine Center, Faculty of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, 270 Rama VI Road, Ratchathewi, Bangkok, Thailand

5 Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University, 420/6 Ratchawithi Road, Bangkok 10400, Thailand

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BMC Health Services Research 2010, 10:209  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-10-209

Published: 16 July 2010

Abstract

Background

Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is the only curative treatment available to severe thalassemic patients. The treatment, however, is very costly, particularly in the context of low and middle income countries, and no studies have been carried out to explore its economic justifiability. This study aimed to estimate the cost-utility of HSCT compared with blood transfusions combined with iron chelating therapy (BT-ICT) for severe thalassemia in Thailand, and to investigate the affordability of HSCT using a budget impact analysis.

Methods

A Markov model was used to estimate the relevant costs and health outcomes over the patients' lifetimes taking a societal perspective as recommended by Thailand's health technology assessment guidelines. All future costs and outcomes were discounted at a rate of 3% per annum. Primary outcomes of interest were lifetime costs, quality adjusted life years (QALYs) gained, and the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) in Thai baht (THB) per QALY gained.

Results

Compared to BT-ICT, the incremental cost-effectiveness ratio increased with patient age from 80,700 to 183,000 THB per QALY gained for related HSCT and 209,000 to 953,000 THB per QALY gained for unrelated HSCT among patients aged 1 to 15 years (US$1= 34 THB). The governmental budget impact analysis showed that providing 200 related HSCT to patients aged 1 to 10 years, in accordance with the current infrastructure limitations, would initially require approximately 90 million additional THB per year.

Conclusions

At a societal willingness to pay of 100,000 THB per QALY gained, related HSCT was likely to be a cost-effective and affordable treatment for young children with severe thalassemia in Thailand.