Economic analysis of influenza vaccination and antiviral treatment for healthy working adults

Patrick Y. Lee, David B. Matchar, Dennis A. Clements, Joel Huber, John D. Hamilton, Eric D. Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


Background: Physicians have several treatment options for influenza, including vaccination and various antiviral therapies. However, the optimal influenza prevention and treatment strategy is unknown. Objective: To compare the relative health values of contemporary treatment strategies for influenza in a healthy sample of working adults. Design: Cost-benefit analysis using a decision model. Data Sources: Previously published data. Target Population: Healthy employed adults 18 to 50 years of age. Time Horizon: A complete influenza season. Perspective: Societal. Interventions: Eight treatment options (yes or no) based on the possible combinations of vaccination and antiviral therapy (rimantadine, oseltamivir, or zanamivir or no treatment) should infection develop. Outcome Measures: Cost in U.S. dollars, including the value of symptom relief and medication side effects, which was assigned a monetary value through a conjoint analysis that used a "willingness-to-pay" approach. Results: In the base-case analysis, all strategies for influenza vaccination had a higher net benefit than the nonvaccination strategies. Vaccination and use of rimantadine, the most cost-beneficial strategy, was $30.97 more cost-beneficial than nonvaccination and no use of antiviral medication. The health benefits of most antiviral treatments equaled or exceeded their costs for most scenarios. The choice of the most cost-beneficial antiviral strategy was sensitive to the prevalence of influenza B and to the comparative workdays gained by each antiviral therapy. Conclusions: Vaccination is cost-beneficial in most influenza seasons in healthy working adults. Although the benefits of antiviral therapy for persons with influenza infection appear to justify its cost, head-to-head trials of the various antiviral therapies are needed to determine the optimal treatment strategy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-231
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of internal medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 20 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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