US HIV treatment guidelines recommend branded once-daily, one-pill efavirenz/emtricitabine/tenofovir as preferred first-line antiretroviral treatment (ART). With the anticipated approval of generic efavirenz in 2012 in the US, the cost of a once-daily, three-pill alternative (generic efavirenz, generic lamivudine, tenofovir) will decrease, but adherence and virologic suppression may be reduced.
To assess the clinical impact, costs, and cost-effectiveness of the generic-based three-pill regimen compared to the branded, co-formulated regimen. To project the potential national savings in the first year of a switch to generic-based ART.
Mathematical simulation of HIV disease.
Published data from US clinical trials and observational cohorts.
HIV-infected patients eligible to start on or switch to an efavirenz-based generic ART regimen.
US health system
No ART (for comparison), Three-pill Generic ART, and Branded ART
Quality-adjusted life expectancy, costs, and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICER, $/quality-adjusted life expectancy [QALY]).
Results of Base-Case Analysis
Compared to No ART, Generic ART has an ICER of $21,100/QALY. Compared to Generic ART, Branded ART increases lifetime costs by $42,500, and per-person survival gains by 0.37 QALYs, for an ICER of $114,800/QALY. Estimated first-year savings, if all eligible US patients start on or switch to Generic ART, are $920 million.
Results of Sensitivity Analysis
Most plausible assumptions about Generic ART efficacy and costs lead to Branded ART ICERs >$100,000/QALY.
The efficacy and price reduction associated with generics are unknown; estimates are intended to be conservative.
Compared to a slightly less effective generic-based regimen, the cost-effectiveness of first-line Branded ART exceeds $100,000/QALY. Generic-based ART in the US could yield substantial budgetary savings to HIV programs.