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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.

Original publication

DOI

10.1186/1472-6963-10-209

Type

Journal article

Journal

BMC Health Serv Res

Publication Date

16/07/2010

Volume

10

Keywords

Adolescent, Adult, Budgets, Child, Child, Preschool, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation, Humans, Infant, Markov Chains, Quality-Adjusted Life Years, Severity of Illness Index, Thailand, Thalassemia, Young Adult