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The Zika virus is a newly emerging infection associated with increasingly large outbreaks especially in countries such as Brazil where an estimated 326,224 cases were confirmed between 2015 and 2018. Common symptoms associated with Zika include headache, conjunctivitis, fever, erythema, myalgia, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. However, the symptoms are usually self-limiting and last on average for 4 to 7 days, with patients typically not accessing the public healthcare system (SUS). In severe cases, symptoms include neurological disorders and neonatal malformations. A future Zika vaccine can contribute to decreasing the number of cases and associated complications. However, this has to be balanced against continuing costs to control this and other vector borne diseases. Consequently, information about consumers’ willingness to pay (WTP) for a hypothetical Zika vaccine can help with price setting discussions in Brazil starting with the private market before being considered within SUS.
A cross-sectional study was conducted among residents in one of the main provinces of Brazil (Minas Gerais) regarding their WTP for a hypothetical Zika vaccine with agreed characteristics. This included a mean effective protection of 80 percent, with the possibility of some local and systemic side-effects. The discussed price was USD 56.41 (BRL 180.00) per vaccination as this figure was utilized in a previous WTP study for a dengue vaccine.
Five hundred and seventeen people were interviewed. However, thirty would not be vaccinated even if the vaccine was free. Most of the resultant interviewees (489) were female (58.2 percent), were employed (71.2 percent), had private health insurance (52.7 percent), had household incomes above twice the minimum wage (69.8 percent) and did not have Zika (96.9 percent). The median individual maximum WTP for this hypothetical Zika vaccine was USD 31.34 (BRL 100.00).
WTP research can contribute to decision-making about possible prices alongside other economic criteria once a Zika vaccine becomes available in Brazil alongside other programmes to control the virus.
Beta-interferons are used as first-line therapy for relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis in Brazil. In order to evaluate the possible inferiority of one of the beta-interferons available and support a guideline update, we conducted an eleven-year (January 2000 to December 2010) nationwide real-world performance assessment using the Unified Health System (SUS) databases.
We assessed whether patients using subcutaneous beta-interferon switched treatment, relapsed or died (composite event) earlier than patients using intramuscular beta-interferons. Patients without a dispensing registry longer than three months were censored. We used the Kaplan-Meier method to estimate the cumulative probability of persistence on initial treatment, and compared groups with the Log-rank test. The influence of the drug on the occurrence of event was assessed with Cox proportional hazards analysis.
The number of patients included was 12,154, and the majority started treatment with subcutaneous beta-interferon-1a (45.7 percent), followed by subcutaneous beta-interferon-1b (27.7 percent) and by intramuscular beta-interferon (26.6 percent). Women represented 73.1 percent and the mean age was 38.93±11.34 years old. The group of patients who used intramuscular beta-interferon switched treatment, relapsed or died earlier (median 47 months; 95 percent Confidence Interval, CI 44–52) than patients using the subcutaneous beta-interferons, (69 months (95 percent CI 64–76) for beta- interferon 1a and 73 (95 percent CI 66–84) months for beta-interferon 1b) (p< .0001 for both comparisons). Accordingly, the use of intramuscular beta-interferon was associated with a higher probability of event (Hazard ratio, HR 1.38; 95 percent CI 1.29-1.48), while the use of the other beta-interferons had a protective effect (1a: HR .86; 95 percent CI .81-.92; 1b: HR .89; 95 percent CI .83-.95).
The inferiority of intramuscular beta-interferon found in the real-world corroborates findings from head-to-head studies and systematic reviews conducted by Cochrane and the National Commission for Technology Incorporation in SUS (CONITEC/Brazil). This result led to disinvestment in intramuscular beta-interferon and was the first case of clinical guideline update using real-world evidence in Brazil.
Dengue virus is a serious global health problem with an estimated 3.97 billion people at risk for infection worldwide. In December 2015, the first vaccine (CYD-TDV) for dengue prevention was approved in Brazil, developed by Sanofi Pasteur (1). However, given that the vaccine will potentially be paid via the public health system, information is needed regarding consumers willingness to pay for the dengue vaccine in the country, as well as discussions related to the possible inclusion of this vaccine into the public health system at prices suggested by the manufacturer. This was the objective of this research.
We conducted a cross-sectional study with residents of Greater Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, about their willingness to pay for the CYD-TDV vaccine. Respondents had to be over 18 years and not currently have the disease although they may have had dengue in the past (2,3).
Five-hundred and seven individuals were interviewed, who were mostly female (62.4 percent), had completed high school (62.2 percent), were working (74.4 percent), had private health insurance (64.5 percent) and did not have dengue (67.4 percent). The maximum median value of consumers willingness to pay for the CYD-TDV vaccine, assuming vaccine efficacy against virologically-confirmed symptomatic dengue illness of approximately 60 percent, is USD33.61 (BRL120.00) for the complete 3-course schedule and USD11.20 (BRL40.00) per dose. At the price currently being assessed by the Brazil's regulatory chamber of pharmaceutical products market (CMED) for Dengvaxia® for three doses, only 17 percent of the population expressed a willingness to pay for the vaccine at this price.
Brazil is currently one of the largest markets for dengue vaccine in the world and the price established is a key issue. The manufacturer should asses the possibility of lowering its price in Brazil to reach a larger audience among the Brazilian population, especially as other public health activities to control the disease will continue.
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