Estimating age-based antiretroviral therapy costs for HIV-infected children in resource-limited settings based on World Health Organization weight-based dosing recommendations


Authors

Kathleen Doherty, Shaffiq Essajee, Martina Penazzato, Charles Holmes, Stephen Resch, Andrea Ciaranello


Journal

BMC Health Services Research 2014, 14(1):201 doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-201


Background

Pediatric antiretroviral therapy (ART) has been shown to substantially reduce morbidity and mortality in HIV-infected infants and children. To accurately project program costs, analysts need accurate estimations of antiretroviral drug (ARV) costs for children. However, the costing of pediatric antiretroviral therapy is complicated by weight-based dosing recommendations which change as children grow.

Methods

We developed a step-by-step methodology for estimating the cost of pediatric ARV regimens for children ages 0–13 years old. The costing approach incorporates weight-based dosing recommendations to provide estimated ARV doses throughout childhood development. Published unit drug costs are then used to calculate average monthly drug costs. We compared our derived monthly ARV costs to published estimates to assess the accuracy of our methodology.

Results

The estimates of monthly ARV costs are provided for six commonly used first-line pediatric ARV regimens, considering three possible care scenarios. The costs derived in our analysis for children were fairly comparable to or slightly higher than available published ARV drug or regimen estimates.

Conclusions

The methodology described here can be used to provide an accurate estimation of pediatric ARV regimen costs for cost-effectiveness analysts to project the optimum packages of care for HIV-infected children, as well as for program administrators and budget analysts who wish to assess the feasibility of increasing pediatric ART availability in constrained budget environments.

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