For what it costs to live with psoriasis for a year, you could buy a car.
A new study on the economic burden of psoriasis found that the estimated annual expenses of psoriasis can be as high as $25,796 per person—or $135 billion for everyone with psoriasis in the United States.
“For a long time, the economic burden of psoriasis has been unrecognized,” said Dr. April Armstrong, a dermatologist at the University of Colorado Denver and member of the National Psoriasis Foundation Medical Board who co-authored the study. “This study shows that the economic burden of psoriasis is substantial.”
The study, published in JAMA Dermatology, is one of the first reviews to take a comprehensive look at the cost of psoriasis in the United States. Researchers analyzed the expenses associated with the disease published between 2008 and 2013. They focused on four categories of cost: direct costs, including medical expenses such as doctor’s appointments and treatments; indirect costs, which measure how psoriasis affects work productivity; intangible costs, analyzing the impact of psoriasis on quality of life; and medical expenses related to psoriasis comorbidities.
Direct costs came with the highest price tag, which researchers estimated could be upwards of $8,000 annually per person. The cost of coping with comorbidities, such as diabetes, heart disease and depression, comes next, and reached almost $5,000 per person annually.
Indirect costs, which take into account absences from work, or lost productivity on the job, due to psoriasis, were estimated to be upwards of $4,000 per person annually—or as much as $35.4 billion for the nation as a whole, according to the findings.
Researchers tallied intangible costs—which measure the toll that psoriasis takes on a patient’s quality of life—by looking at studies that asked patients what they would be willing to pay for relief from their disease. Over the course of a lifetime, patients would pay up to $11,498 to be rid of the physical discomfort and negative emotional impact of psoriasis, researchers reported.
Going forward, researchers called for more studies analyzing the cost-effectiveness of treatments. Although research has been conducted comparing the price of different therapies, studies that examine both costs and results could offer valuable insights on the economic burden of treating psoriasis, the researchers concluded.
Treating psoriasis early could help patients manage some of the costs of the disease, Armstrong said.
“Psoriasis is truly an impactful disease that not only incurs large medical costs if not treated early; it also severely affects patients' ability to reach their full economic potential,” she noted. “It is important that patients seek medical treatments early and work with healthcare providers to manage their disease so that they can live a financially secure and fulfilling life.”
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