Cost-effectiveness of incorporating vaccine to multidrug therapy in newly diagnosed leprosy cases for better treatment outcomes & immunoprophylaxis in contacts as leprosy control measures for National Leprosy Eradication Programme in India.
Background & objectives: The elimination goal for leprosy as a public health problem at the national level was achieved in 2005 in India. However, the number of new cases reporting annually remained nearly the same during the last 10-15 years. Moreover, a substantial number of these new cases reported disabilities for the first time. Therefore, besides multidrug therapy (MDT), newer strategies with focus on effectively decreasing the number of new cases, optimizing the treatment of detected cases, averting disabilities and arresting the transmission of the disease are required. So the objective of this study was to assess the cost-effectiveness of Mycobacterium indicus pranii (MIP) vaccine implementation in National Leprosy Eradication Programme (NLEP) for newly diagnosed leprosy patients as well as their contacts to arrest/decrease the transmission and occurrence of new cases.
Methods: This was a model-based estimation of incremental costs, total quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) gained, new cases averted, deaths averted, incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) and budget impact of the vaccination intervention. This model included the addition of MIP treatment intervention to the newly detected leprosy patients as well as vaccination with MIP to their contacts.
Results: Using the societal perspective, discounted ICER was estimated to be ₹73,790 per QALY gained over a five-year time period. Probabilistic sensitivity analysis (PSA) was assessed by varying the values of input parameters. Majority (96%) of simulations fell in North East quadrant of cost-effectiveness plane, which were all below the willingness to pay threshold.
Interpretation & conclusions: Introduction of MIP vaccination in the NLEP appears to be a cost-effective strategy for India. Significant health gains were reduction in the number of new leprosy cases, decreased incidence and severity of reactions during treatment, and after release from treatment, prevention of disabilities, thus reducing the cost as well as stigma of the disease.