Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is an important global health problem, and a
control strategy known as DOTS-Plus has existed since 1999. However, evidence regarding the feasibility, effectiveness, cost, and cost-effectiveness of DOTS-Plus is still limited.
We evaluated the feasibility, effectiveness, cost, and cost-effectiveness of a DOTS-Plus pilot project established at Makati Medical Center in Manila, the Philippines, in 1999. Patients with MDR-TB are treated with regimens, including first- and second-line drugs, tailored to their drug susceptibility pattern (i.e., individualised treatment). We considered the cohort enrolled between April 1999 and March 2002. During this three-year period, 118 patients were enrolled in the project; 117 were considered in the analysis. Seventy-one patients (61%) were cured, 12 (10%) failed treatment, 18 (15%) died, and 16 (14%) defaulted. The average cost per patient treated was US$3,355 from the perspective of the health system, of which US$1,557 was for drugs, and US$837 from the perspective of patients. The mean cost per disability-adjusted life year (DALY) gained by the DOTS-Plus project was US$242 (range US$85 to US$426).
Treatment of patients with MDR-TB using the DOTS-Plus strategy and individualised drug
regimens can be feasible, comparatively effective, and cost-effective in low- and middle-income countries.