New vaccine technologies may improve the acceptability, delivery (potentially enabling self-administration), and product efficacy of influenza vaccines. One such technology is the microneedle patch (MNP), a skin delivery technology currently in development. Although MNPs hold promise in preclinical studies, their potential economic and epidemiologic impacts have not yet been evaluated.
We utilized a susceptible-exposed-infectious-recovered (SEIR) transmission model linked to an economic influenza outcomes model to assess the economic value of introducing the MNP into the current influenza vaccine market in the United States from the third-party payer and societal perspectives. We also explored the impact of different vaccination settings, self-administration, the MNP price, vaccine efficacy, compliance, and MNP market share. Outcomes included costs, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), cases, and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs; cost/QALY).
When healthcare providers administered the MNP, its introduction would be cost-effective or dominant (i.e., less costly and more effective) in the majority of scenarios assessed. If self-administration were available, MNP introduction would be cost-effective if it increased compliance enough to overcome any decrease in self-administration success or if the MNP presentation afforded an increase in efficacy over current delivery methods for influenza vaccines.
With healthcare provider administration, MNP introduction would be cost-effective (ICERs ≤$23,347/QALY) at all MNP price points ($9.50-$30) and market shares (10-60%) assessed, except when compliance and efficacy were assumed to be the same as existing vaccines and the MNP occupied a 10% market share. If MNP self-administration were available (assuming the same efficacy as current technologies), MNP compliance or its efficacy would need to increase by ≥3% in order to be cost-effective (ICERs ≤$1401/QALY), assuming a 2% reduction in administration success with unsupervised self-administration. Under these conditions, MNP introduction would be cost-effective for all price points and market shares assessed.