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HCV Associated with 200% More ER Visits in Japan

Jan 25, 2012

New York, NY Although the number of new cases of viral hepatitis C (HCV) in Japan has decreased since its quick spread in the 1930s, HCV still causes significant health care resource use, and HCV patients visit the emergency room 200% more than matched controls.

In addition to the higher direct costs associated with health care resource use, HCV patients also have higher levels of work productivity loss, causing increased indirect costs to employers. A recent study, “The Burden of Illness for Patients with Viral Hepatitis C: Evidence from a National Survey in Japan,” recently published in Value in Health, reviewed self-reported patient data from the 2008 and 2009 Japan National Health and Wellness Survey (NHWS), an annual, cross-sectional study of adults aged 18 and older, to determine the consequences associated with a diagnosis of HCV. The study was authored by Marco DiBonaventura, PhD, Director, Health Economics and Outcomes Research, with Kantar Health.

This study will appear in the 3rd Special Issue: Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research in Asia (Volume 15, Supplement 1, of Value in Health, the official journal of the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and outcomes Research (ISPOR).

The NHWS analysis showed that Japanese patients with HCV see their physician 50% more and visit the emergency room 200% more than matched controls in the survey, leading to higher healthcare costs to these patients. HCV patients also miss an extra 8.76% of work time compared with matched controls, which is equal to an extra 22 workdays missed per patient per year.

Viral hepatitis C (HCV), a blood-borne communicable disease, affects 170 million patients worldwide, including 2 million patients in Japan.

“Because HCV can lead to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, its effects in the late stages of infection are well-recognized. However, the results of this study suggest that HCV can be a significant cost driver in terms of healthcare resource use and lost productivity even in earlier stages,” says Dr. DiBonaventura. “Besides these societal costs, patients with HCV in Japan also had significantly lower levels of quality of life as measured by bodily pain, general health, and mental health. Given the findings we observed across various outcomes, this study highlights the pervasive consequence of the virus.”

Value in Health (ISSN 1098-3015) publishes papers, concepts, and ideas that advance the field of pharmacoeconomics and outcomes research as well as policy papers to help health care leaders make evidence-based decisions.  The journal is published bi-monthly and has a regular readership of over 6,000 clinicians, decision makers, and researchers worldwide.

International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) is a nonprofit, international, educational and scientific organization that strives to increase the efficiency, effectiveness, and fairness of health care resource use to improve health.