Blood disorders costly in Europe

Blood cancers

22 Jul 2016

Blood disorders cost the European economy €23 billion in 2012, new data reveals.

Two papers estimating the costs of malignant and non-malignant blood disorders published in this week’s Lancet Haematology estimated the total economic cost of all blood disorders across 31 European countries.

Approximately half of all costs were related to malignant (€12 billion) and half to non-malignant (€11 billion) blood disorders. Healthcare costs represented a total of €16 billion and more than two thirds of this was spent on hospital inpatient care (€7 billion) and medications (€4 billion), the analyses revealed.

Blood cancers were the fourth most expensive type of cancer after lung (15%), breast (12%) and colorectal (10%) cancers. Yet when healthcare costs alone were considered  blood cancers were second only to breast cancers (12% vs 13% of healthcare costs for all cancers). Blood cancers cost on average €14674 per patient in 2012, almost two times higher than the average cost per patient across all cancers (€7929).

Writing in an accompanying editorial Professor Ulrich Jäger, Medizinische Universität Wien, Vienna, Austria and colleagues said: “Despite the absence of new information, there is no doubt that the burden of blood disorders is likely to have risen since 2012 and will probably be on the rise for some time to come. Most European countries face an ever-ageing population needing more care. Another factor will contribute even more to rising costs: the prices of new drugs. Since 2012, several new drugs have received market authorisation. Many of these new drugs promise to be more effective because they target key pathways of cancer cells more specifically. However, many of these new drugs are priced well above the 2012 average.”


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