Objectives: To determine the average cost of a case of genital warts, for both males and females, with a view to informing the current debate as to which Human papillomavirus vaccine would have maximum cost-effectiveness in the Irish population.
Methods: Contact time between patients and healthcare professionals was prospectively measured at five genitourinary medicine clinics in the south-west of Ireland, over a period of 3 weeks. By identifying all those with genital warts, it was possible to calculate the proportion of total time taken by patients with this condition, and from this to calculate a cost per incident case, by gender.
Results: A total of 25.5% of attendances were for genital warts, and these patients used 26.2% of total clinic time (CI 25.4 to 27.0%). The average cost calculated for genital warts was €335 per incident case, and by gender €300 per male case and €366 per female case.
Conclusions: There are considerable costs associated with the treatment of genital warts, with female cases representing a higher cost than males. By vaccinating with the quadrivalent HPV vaccine, there are significant savings to be made.
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Dr O’Connor died in December 2008.
Competing interests: None.
Ethics approval: Ethics approval was provided by the Faculty of Public Health Medicine of Ireland.