Costs and health impact of delayed implementation of a national hepatitis B treatment program in China

Mehlika Toy*, David Hutton, Jidong Jia, Samuel So

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a leading public health problem in China. COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted the delivery of health care interventions worldwide, including HBV infection control.


 In this study, we used a Markov model to quantify the costs and population health impact of HBV treatment in China for the following scenarios: 1) current practice with only 17% of treatment eligible HBV infected adults receiving antiviral treatment; 2) reaching the World Health Organization (WHO) treatment target of 80% by 2030 with a steady increase in treatment rate beginning in 2022; and 3) the effect of a 1-5-year delay in meeting the 2030 WHO treatment target. A one-way as well as a probabilistic sensitivity analysis were conducted.


Without increasing antiviral treatment for treatment eligible HBV infected adults, the life-time health care costs for the estimated 89.2 million adults living with HBV in China is US$1305 billion and 10.8 million (12%) will die from HBV-related liver disease. Increasing treatment to achieve the WHO 80% target by 2030 would save US$472 billion and prevent 3.3 million HBV-related deaths. We estimated that a 1-year delay beyond 2030 in reaching the WHO 80% treatment target would likely lead to US$55 billion increase in future health care costs, and an additional 334 000 future deaths from HBV-related liver disease or cancer.


Reaching the WHO 2030 with minimal delays would have an immense health and economic benefit. Implementing a national treatment program for HBV in China should be a key priority for policymakers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number04043
JournalJournal of Global Health
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes

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