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Economic burden of osteoporotic fractures in Austria

Abstract

Objective

Osteoporotic fractures impose a huge economic burden on society. Though several cost of illness studies from other countries exist, no equivalent study has been conducted in Austria. Our study aims at assessing costs resulting from osteoporotic fractures in Austria in the year 2008 from a societal perspective.

Methods

We took both direct and indirect costs into consideration. Direct costs encompass medical costs such as expenses for pharmaceuticals, inpatient and outpatient medical care costs, as well as other medical services (e.g., occupational therapies). Non-medical direct costs include transportation costs and medical devices (e.g., wheel chairs or crutches). Indirect costs refer to costs of productivity losses due to absence of work. Moreover, we included costs for early retirement and opportunity costs of informal care provided by family members. For our analysis, we combined data of official statistics, expert estimates as well as unique patient surveys that are currently conducted in the course of an international osteoporotic fracture study in Austria.

Results

For the year 2008, the total annual financial burden incurred by osteoporotic fractures in Austria amounted to approx. €685.2 million, the largest fraction of which was due to the opportunity cost of family care (30.2%), followed by costs for hospitalization (26.6%).

Conclusions

The financial burden of osteoporotic fractures in Austria is substantial. Our findings may have implications for future economic analyses, and also support health care authorities in their decision making.