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In Estonia, organized cervical cancer screening program is targeted at women aged 30–55(59) years and Pap-tests are taken every five years. Since cervical cancer is associated with human papillomavirus (HPV), a number of countries have introduced the HPV-test as the primary method of screening. The objective of this study was to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of organized cervical cancer screening program in Estonia by comparing HPV- and Pap-test based strategies.
For the cost-effectiveness analysis, a Markov cohort model was developed. The model was used to estimate costs and quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) of eight screening strategies, varying the primary screening test and triage scenarios, upper age limit of screening, and testing interval. Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs) were calculated in comparison to current screening practice as well as to the next best option. Sensitivity analysis was performed by varying one or more similar parameter(s) at a time, while holding others at their base case value. The analysis was performed from the healthcare payer perspective adopting a five percent annual discount rate for both costs and utilities.
In the base-case scenario, ICER for HPV-test based strategies in comparison to the current screening practice was estimated at EUR 8,596–9,786 per QALY. For alternative Pap-test based strategies ICER was estimated at EUR 2,332–2,425 per QALY. In comparison to the next best option, HPV-test based strategies were dominated by Pap-test based strategies. At the cost-effectiveness threshold of EUR 10,000 per QALY Pap-testing every three years would be the cost-effective strategy for women participating in the screening program from age 30 to 63 (ICER being EUR 3,112 per QALY).
Decreasing Pap-test based screening interval or changing to HPV-test based screening can both improve the effectiveness of cervical cancer screening program in Estonia, but based on the current cost-effectiveness study Pap-test based screening every three years should be preferred.
Many countries that have used Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) vaccine against tuberculosis (TB) have switched from universal vaccination of infants and children to selective vaccination, or discontinued with vaccination at all. The aim of the study is to assess the costs and cost-effectiveness of BCG vaccination in Estonia.
A Markov cohort model and budget impact analysis were used to compare the current, universal BCG vaccination to selective and non-vaccination strategies. The epidemiological and economic impact of BCG vaccination were estimated for the period 2018–2032 following the hypothetical change in the vaccination policy in 2018. The results were presented as the cost per case of TB adverted, changes in the occurrence of TB and yearly (undiscounted) costs associated with vaccination and TB treatment.
In a cohort of 13,500 infants over a time-period of 15 years Estonian universal BCG vaccination prevents around two TB cases compared to selective or non-vaccination strategies. The cost per one TB case averted for the universal strategy compared to non-vaccination strategy was EUR12,234 (EUR4,059–28,748 in sensitivity analysis) and compared to selective vaccination EUR3,847 (EUR504–10,568). The number of TB cases in 0–14-year old children in 2032 was estimated to be 1.3 for universal vaccination, 2.7 for selective and 2.9 for non-vaccination strategy. The total costs of vaccination and TB treatment in 2032 were estimated to be EUR23,764, EUR16,459 and EUR7,553 respectively.
The cost per case of TB averted is dependent on vaccine efficacy, and is high compared with the cost of treating one case of TB. At the same time, the total costs of BCG vaccination and TB treatment are marginal compared to other vaccination programs used in Estonia. Despite the limited budget impact, several organizational challenges need to be addressed if the universal program is replaced with selective BCG vaccination.
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