BackgroundIndia is considering the scale-up of the Xpert MTB/RIF assay for detection of tuberculosis (TB) and rifampicin resistance. We conducted an economic analysis to estimate the costs of different strategies of Xpert implementation in India.
MethodsUsing a decision analytical model, we compared four diagnostic strategies for TB patients: (i) sputum smear microscopy (SSM) only; (ii) Xpert as a replacement for the rapid diagnostic test currently used for SSM-positive patients at risk of drug resistance (i.e. line probe assay (LPA)); (iii) Upfront Xpert testing for patients at risk of drug resistance; and (iv) Xpert as a replacement for SSM for all patients.
ResultsThe total costs associated with diagnosis for 100,000 presumptive TB cases were: (i) US$ 619,042 for SSM-only; (ii) US$ 575,377 in the LPA replacement scenario; (iii) US$ 720,523 in the SSM replacement scenario; and (iv) US$ 1,639,643 in the Xpert-for-all scenario. Total cohort costs, including treatment costs, increased by 46% from the SSM-only to the Xpert-for-all strategy, largely due to the costs associated with second-line treatment of a higher number of rifampicin-resistant patients due to increased drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) case detection. The diagnostic costs for an estimated 7.64 million presumptive TB patients would comprise (i) 19%, (ii) 17%, (iii) 22% and (iv) 50% of the annual TB control budget. Mean total costs, expressed per DR-TB case initiated on treatment, were lowest in the Xpert-for-all scenario (US$ 11,099).
ConclusionsThe Xpert-for-all strategy would result in the greatest increase of TB and DR-TB case detection, but would also have the highest associated costs. The strategy of using Xpert only for patients at risk for DR-TB would be more affordable, but would miss DR-TB cases and the cost per true DR-TB case detected would be higher compared to the Xpert-for-all strategy. As such expanded Xpert strategy would require significant increased TB control budget to ensure that increased case detection is followed by appropriate care.
SUBMITTER: Khaparde S