Research: Needle/syringe programs highly cost-effective for hep C prevention in UK

According to research published in Addiction, needle and syringe programs are a highly cost-effective means of preventing hepatitis C transmission among people who inject drugs. Investment in such programming, the results show, could save millions of pounds in treatment costs in the United Kingdom (UK).

Using data from three UK cities, the researchers estimated the costs of existing needle and syringe programs, the impact of the programs on the spread of infection, and the programs’ cost-effectiveness. They also projected how the spread of hepatitis C would increase if all needle and syringe programs were stopped.

The analysis found that current needle and syringe programs resulted in lower healthcare and treatment costs compared to the scenario in which programs were stopped. Additionally, the programs would remain cost-effective even if treatment rates increased or treatment costs reduced owing to their effectiveness in preventing re-infection.

Reductions in the number of hepatitis C infections, and improvements in quality of life for people who inject drugs, were also projected.

Read a summary on the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine website here.

Read the full research article on Wiley Online Library (paid access) here.

Sweeney, S., Ward, Z., Platt, L., Guinness, L., Hickman, M., Hope, V., Maher, L., Iversen, J., Hutchinson, S. J., Smith, J., Ayres, R., Hainey, I., and Vickerman, P. (2019) Evaluating the cost‐effectiveness of existing needle and syringe programmes in preventing hepatitis C transmission in people who inject drugs. Addiction,

Image “IMG_1620” by Nathan Forget is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s