The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, Vol. 19
Inaccurate diagnosis and inaccessibility of care undercut the effectiveness of high-quality anti-tuberculosis treatment and select for resistance. Rapid diagnostic systems, such as Xpert(®) MTB/RIF for tuberculosis (TB) diagnosis and drug susceptibility testing (DST), and programs that provide high-quality DOTS anti-tuberculosis treatment to patients in the unregulated private sector (public-private mix [PPM]), may help address these challenges, albeit at increased cost.
We extended a microsimulation model of TB in India calibrated to demographic, epidemiologic, and care trends to evaluate 1) replacing DST with Xpert; 2) replacing microscopy and culture with Xpert to diagnose multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB) and non-MDR-TB; 3) implementing nationwide PPM; and combinations of (3) with (1) or (2).
PPM (assuming costs of $38/person) and Xpert improved health and increase costs relative to the status quo. PPM alone or with Xpert cost <1 gross domestic product/capita per quality-adjusted life-year gained relative to the next best intervention, and dominated Xpert interventions excluding PPM.
While both PPM and Xpert are promising tools for combatting TB in India, PPM should be prioritized over Xpert, as private sector engagement is more cost-effective than Xpert alone and, if sufficient resources are available, would substantially increase the value of Xpert if both interventions are implemented together.