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Counting Costs

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We are all aware of the rising costs of medical care, especially for complex diseases such as psoriasis. The total cost of psoriasis in the United States is unknown. Brezinski et al (JAMA Dermatol. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2014.3593) sought to define the economic burden of psoriasis in the United States. They argued that this information is needed to provide the foundation for research, advocacy, and educational efforts within the disease.

The authors searched PubMed and MEDLINE databases for economic investigations on the costs of adult psoriasis in the United States. The primary objective of the analysis was to provide a comprehensive analysis of the literature on the economic burden of psoriasis in the United States. The direct, indirect, intangible, and comorbidity costs of psoriasis were reported based on this systematic literature review and adjusted to 2013 US dollars.

The direct costs included medical costs associated with (1) specialist medical evaluations, (2) hospitalization, (3) prescription medications, (4) phototherapy, (5) medication administration costs, (6) laboratory tests and monitoring studies, and (7) over-the-counter medications and self-care products. The indirect costs were determined by absenteeism and impaired work productivity. Intangible costs were calculated as a measure of the negative effect of psoriasis on quality of life. Finally, comorbidity costs measured the medical evaluations, treatment, and lab monitoring that were directly attributed to comorbid conditions associated with psoriasis.

An initial review of the literature generated 100 articles; 22 studies were included in the systematic review. The direct psoriasis costs ranged from $51.7 billion to $63.2 billion, the indirect costs ranged from $23.9 billion to $35.4 billion, and medical comorbidities were estimated to contribute $36.4 billion annually in 2013 US dollars. The annual cost of psoriasis in the United States amounted to approximately $112 billion in 2013.

The authors concluded that the economic burden of psoriasis was substantial and significant in the United States.

What’s the issue?

In the United States, the economic burden of psoriasis is substantial because this disease is associated with negative physical, psychiatric, and social consequences. In addition, treatment costs continue to rise. How will this analysis of cost influence your future management of psoriasis?

We want to know your views! Tell us what you think.

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