Pharmacy World & Science

, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 281–286 | Cite as

Cost of illness of tuberculosis in Penang, Malaysia

  • Elfatih Ibrahim Elamin
  • Mohamed Izham Mohamed IbrahimEmail author
  • Syed Azhar Syed Sulaiman
  • Abdul Razak Muttalif
Research Article


Objective To assess the costs incurred by the public health services and patients as a result of tuberculosis (TB) treatment. Setting The study was conducted in a government hospital located in the northern region of Malaysia. Method Retrospective data were collected from medical records and the patients were observed until the completion of their medication. A pharmacoeconomic evaluation was applied to calculate direct and indirect costs. Main Outcome Measure Direct and indirect costs of tuberculosis treatment in a government health institution. Results Two hundred and one tuberculosis patients were included in the study. Different regimens with various durations of treatments were used. The direct medical and non-medical costs as well as indirect costs were calculated and were found to be as follows: US$61.44 for anti-tuberculosis drugs and supplies, US$28.63 for X-ray examinations, US$28.53 for laboratory tests, US$20.03 for healthcare staff time, US$4.28 for hospitalisation, US$43.20 for overhead costs, US$608.11 for transportation and meals and US$118.78 for time away from work. The cost to the patients constitutes approximately 80% of the total cost of the treatment. Conclusion The cost of treating the illness of tuberculosis per patient was US$916.4. The cost of anti-tuberculosis drugs constituted the highest proportion of the cost to the public health services (31.7%) while the cost to the patient constituted the major proportion of the total cost of the illness (79.4%).


Cost-of-illness Direct cost Government hospital setting Indirect cost Malaysia Pharmacoeconomics Tuberculosis (TB) 



The authors would like to thank all staff at the Chest Clinic of the Penang Hospital for their continuous help and their endless patience in searching for the files of tuberculosis patient throughout the data collection period. Their assistance is greatly appreciated.

Conflict of interests

We would like to declare that there is no conflict of interests in conducting this research. This study was conducted as part of the MSc research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elfatih Ibrahim Elamin
    • 1
  • Mohamed Izham Mohamed Ibrahim
    • 1
    Email author
  • Syed Azhar Syed Sulaiman
    • 1
  • Abdul Razak Muttalif
    • 2
  1. 1.Social and Administrative Pharmacy School of Pharmaceutical SciencesUniversiti Sains MalaysiaPenangMalaysia
  2. 2.Chest ClinicPenang HospitalPenangMalaysia

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