Counting the Costs – The Financial Burden of IBD for Patients
The Irish Society for Colitis and Crohns Disease (ISCC)
ISCC kindly supported by Abbvie with fieldwork conducted by Accuracy Research
There is currently no data available costing the burden of illness for Irish patients suffering with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).
The aim of the survey was to gather current information from IBD patients focusing on quantifying the burden of living with the disease. The survey aimed to provide the first comprehensive economic data about the cost to a patient in Ireland of living with the disease.
Questionnaires were distributed to ISCC members as well as outpatient clinics and infusion rooms in hospitals around Ireland. Participants were asked about all aspects of disease from diagnosis through to treatment, patient experience and financial costs. Results: 623 questionnaires were received. Of those who responded 28% classed their disease as mild, 48% as moderate and 24% as severe. 39% of those surveyed report that the symptoms of IBD have significantly affected their lives. The average annual spend by private patients on prescribed medication was €1154. 51% of respondents were availing of the drug Payment scheme. 35% of respondents were in receipt of a medical card, 3% in receipt of a GP Visit card, 1% in receipt of a discretionary medical card. 31% were treated for their IBD privately while 49% were treated solely in the public system. Typically IBD patients will see a GP 3 times per year and their Consultant 2-3 times per year with private patients spending €250 per year on consultant fees. On average patients have spent 3-4 days in hospital in the last year because of symptoms. 31% of respondents had undergone surgery for their IBD. Prior to diagnosis 19% of those with severe disease reported attending the A&E 3 or more times. Overall the annual spend on health related expenditure (including prescriptions) ranged from €1,564 for public patients to €3,111 for private patients. 56% claim the disease has negatively affected their income. The average number of days absent from school/college/work was 17 days which increases to between 33-34 amongst those with severe IBD. Based on the CSO 2014 average wage, average earnings lost equates to approximately €2,320 rising to an average of €4,670 for those with severe illness.
The financial burden of illness is high for patients with inflammatory bowel disease particularly for those treated privately and for those with severe illness. The rate of annual sick leave for employees with IBD is also a large socio-economic burden and a further cause of patient stress.