Pricing of HPV tests in Italian tender-based settings

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Background and aim: Human papillomavirus (HPV) testing has been recommended by the WHO as the first choice method in cervical cancer screening. So far, only a limited number of countries have implemented primary HPV testing, partly because of the assumed high costs of HPV testing. We assessed tender-based prices of HPV testing in Italy, where programmatic HPV-based screening has been implemented at the regional level. Materials and methods: Procurement notices and awards, published between 2014 and December 2021, were retrieved from the European online platform for public procurement. The unit price per HPV test was calculated as the ratio of the contract award price and contract volume. The association between the unit price and contract volume, calendar year, number of offers, region’s per capita gross domestic product and population density was assessed by linear regression. Fractional polynomials were used to describe the association between the unit price and contract volume. Results: We retrieved data from 29 procurement procedures. The median unit price per HPV test was €10.75, ranging from €4.30 to €204.80. The unit price was not higher than €5 for 6 out of 11 contract awards with a volume of at least 100,000 tests. After discarding two low-volume contracts with very high contract prices (€182.40 and €204.80), volume explained 86.5% of the variation in unit price. The unit price was not associated with other variables. Conclusions: The Italian experience showed that the tender-based unit price of an HPV test is very low when procured at high volume, indicating that there is no reason for countries to further delay the implementation of HPV-based screening because of prohibitively high HPV testing costs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)762-768
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Medical Economics
Issue number1
Early online date26 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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