The thalassemias are a heterogeneous group of inherited hypochromic anemias of varying severity. The mainstay of supportive treatment is regular blood transfusion accompanied by iron-chelating therapy. Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) provides an alternative option when curative therapy is considered. More than 400 patients in Taiwan have β-thalassemia major or other transfusion-dependent thalassemias, and their treatment costs account for a considerable percentage of the National Health Insurance expenditure. In this report, we estimated the treatment costs of conventional therapy (regular blood transfusion accompanied by iron-chelating agents) and HSCT. The undiscounted medical cost of 20 years of follow-up (20 years from diagnosis) and the undiscounted total lifetime cost were NT$ 4739888 (NT$ means New Taiwan Dollars)/US$ 149288 and NT$ 11529990/US$ 363149, respectively, for patients undergoing conventional therapy, and NT$ 2639982/US$ 83149 and NT$ 3511172/US$ 110588, respectively, for those undergoing successful HSCT. Comparisons of treatment costs and other parameters between these two modalities can add to the information base on which policy is made by health authorities or clinicians.
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