The 2009 A/H1N1 influenza pandemic generated additional data and triggered new studies that opened debate over the optimal strategy for handling a pandemic. The lessons-learned documents from the World Health Organization show the need for a cost estimation of the pandemic response during the risk-assessment phase. Several years after the crisis, what conclusions can we draw from this field of research?
The main objective of this article was to provide an analysis of the studies that present cost-effectiveness or cost-benefit analyses for A/H1N1 pandemic interventions since 2009 and to identify which measures seem most cost-effective.
We reviewed 18 academic articles that provide cost-effectiveness or cost-benefit analyses for A/H1N1 pandemic interventions since 2009. Our review converts the studies’ results into a cost-utility measure (cost per disability-adjusted life-year or quality-adjusted life-year) and presents the contexts of severity and fatality.
The existing studies suggest that hospital quarantine, vaccination, and usage of the antiviral stockpile are highly cost-effective, even for mild pandemics. However, school closures, antiviral treatments, and social distancing may not qualify as efficient measures, for a virus like 2009’s H1N1 and a willingness-to-pay threshold of $45,000 per disability-adjusted life-year. Such interventions may become cost-effective for severe crises.
This study helps to shed light on the cost-utility of various interventions, and may support decision making, among other criteria, for future pandemics. Nonetheless, one should consider these results carefully, considering these may not apply to a specific crisis or country, and a dedicated cost-effectiveness assessment should be conducted at the time.
Hélène Pasquini-Descomps Nathalie Brender David Maradan