PharmacoEconomics & Outcomes News 792, p25 - 2 Dec 2017
Publicly funded opioid abuse
therapy cost effective in USA
Publicly funded opioid abuse therapy (OAT) appears
to be cost effective, according to findings of a US study
published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
A semi-Markov model was used to evaluate the
cost effectiveness and budget impact of immediate
access to opioid abuse therapy with methadone in a
hypothetical population of patients 35 years of age with
opioid abuse disorder (primarily due to heroin)
presenting at publicly funded treatment centers in
California, compared with the standard of care (short-
term medically managed withdrawal), from a societal
perspective over a lifetime time horizon. The model was
populated with data from linked treatment and criminal
justice administrative databases.
Immediate access to opioid abuse therapy was
estimated to gain 0.42 additional QALYs compared with
the standard of care and to reduce total costs by
over a lifetime. Opioid abuse therapy was
therefore dominant (more effective and less costly).
It was estimated that treatment of all patients with
opioid use disorder in California in 2014 with immediate
opioid abuse therapy would achieve total lifetime
savings $3.8 billion.
Sensitivity analysis found that opioid abuse therapy
was cost effective in 99.6% of simulations.
"Our findings further underline the need for
widespread and unencumbered access to evidence-
based treatment of opioid use disorder to reduce the
burden to society of the current prescription opioid and
heroin use epidemic," the authors commented.
* 2016 US dollars
Krebs E, et al. Cost-Effectiveness of Publicly Funded Treatment of Opioid Use
Disorder in California Annals of Internal Medicine : 21 Nov 2017. Available from:
PharmacoEconomics & Outcomes News 2 Dec 2017 No. 7921173-5503/17/0792-0001/$14.95 Adis © 2017 Springer International Publishing AG. All rights reserved