Cost-Benefit Analysis of Tafenoquine for Radical Cure of Plasmodium vivax Malaria in Korea

Jiyeon Suh, Jung Ho Kim, Jong Dae Kim, Changsoo Kim, Jun Yong Choi, Jeehyun Lee, Joon Sup Yeom

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Background: Plasmodium vivax malaria has a persistent liver stage that causes relapse, and introducing tafenoquine to suppress relapse could aid in disease eradication. Therefore, we assessed the impact of tafenoquine introduction on P. vivax malaria incidence and performed a cost-benefit analysis from the payer’s perspective. Methods: We expanded the previously developed P. vivax malaria dynamic transmission model and calibrated it to weekly civilian malaria incidences in 2014–2018. Primaquine and tafenoquine scenarios were considered by assuming different relapse probabilities, and relapse and total P. vivax malaria cases were predicted over the next decade for each scenario. We then estimated the number of cases prevented by replacing primaquine with tafenoquine. The cost and benefit of introducing tafenoquine were obtained using medical expenditure from a nationwide database, and a cost-benefit analysis was conducted. A probabilistic sensitivity analysis was performed to assess the economic feasibility robustness of tafenoquine introduction under uncertainties of model parameters, costs, and benefits. Results: Under 0.04 primaquine relapse probability, the introduction of tafenoquine with relapse probability of 0.01 prevented 129 (12.27%) and 35 (77.78%) total and relapse cases, respectively, over the next decade. However, under the same relapse probability as primaquine, introducing tafenoquine had no additional preventative effect. The 14-day primaquine treatment cost was $3.71. The tafenoquine and the glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase rapid diagnostic testing cost $57.37 and $7.76, totaling $65.13. The average medical expenditure per malaria patient was estimated at $1444.79. The cost-benefit analysis results provided an incremental benefit-cost ratio (IBCR) from 0 to 3.21 as the tafenoquine relapse probability decreased from 0.04 to 0.01. The probabilistic sensitivity analysis showed an IBCR > 1, indicating that tafenoquine is beneficial, with a probability of 69.1%. Conclusion: Tafenoquine could reduce P. vivax malaria incidence and medical costs and bring greater benefits than primaquine.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere212
JournalJournal of Korean medical science
Issue number27
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022. The Korean Academy of Medical Sciences. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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