- 1Department of Health Security, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland.
- 2Department of Public Health and Welfare, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland.
Background: Finland is among the countries with low hepatitis B endemicity. We evaluate the hepatitis B-related disease and economic burden needed for evidence-based immunisation policy decision-making.
Methods: Hepatitis B-related cases in 2004-2012 were retrieved from population-based nationwide registers. We evaluated the incidence, health care resource use, health care costs, and life years lost due to hepatitis B-related outcomes. An episode of care was constructed from each individual's hepatitis B-related events retrieved from individually linkable registers.
Results: The mean health care costs per an acute hepatitis B case were €450 (SD 240), €2030 (SD 350), and €5400 (SD 3370) in those aged 0-14, 15-64, and ≥65 years, respectively. For chronic infection, the mean cost per case among Finnish-born individuals was €990 and among foreign-born €1360. The costs per case of liver cirrhosis were €15,350 and liver cancer €19,080. In addition, the annual antiviral medication costs per case receiving antiviral medication were €4710 to €5530. Annually <10% of the chronic and approximately 20% of liver cirrhosis cases received antiviral medication. We identified annually 21 acute, 264 chronic, three liver cirrhosis, and four liver cancer cases and 63.7 life years lost due to hepatitis B per 5.3 million inhabitants. The total annual health care costs were €1.2 million of which 60% were antiviral medication costs and 86% accounted for chronic hepatitis B.
Conclusions: When planning prevention of hepatitis B infection, it is pivotal to notice that the overall disease and economic burden due to hepatitis B is mostly due to chronic infection.