New study quantifies the enormous cost of fragility fractures in Europe

March 23, 2012

Researchers at the European Congress of Osteoporosis & Osteoarthritis in Bordeaux have presented new data * which shows that the economic burden of fragility fractures in the 27 member states of the European Union far exceeds previous estimates, with hip fractures accounting for around 55% of costs.

The investigators used a population based model to estimate the economic burden of fractures in 2010, using data on facture incidence, costs for pharmaceutical prevention and post-fracture health care, mortality, and population size to estimate total costs. Data for hip, vertebral, wrist, "other fractures" were included and a societal perspective was used as far as possible. Costs were divided into cost of fractures occurring within the index year, cost of prior historic fractures that still are associated with costs, and cost of pharmaceutical prevention.

The total economic burden, including pharmaceutical prevention, of fractures in the European Union in 2010 was estimated at €39 billion EUR. The highest costs were in the EU's five largest countries - Germany (9.3 billion), Italy (7.2 billion), UK (5.6 billion), France (5 billion), Spain (2.9 billion).

The direct costs of treating new fractures accounted for €26 billion EUR, long-term fracture care €11 billion and pharmaceutical prevention only €2 billion. Excluding pharmaceutical prevention costs, hip, vertebral, wrist and "other fractures" comprised 55%, 5%, 1% and 38% of the economic burden respectively.

John A. Kanis, Professor Emeritus at the University of Sheffield, WHO Collaborating Centre, and lead author of the study, concluded, "We have found that pharmaceutical prevention of fractures only accounts for 2 billion EUR in expenditure - approximately 5% of the total cost burden of fractures. This small investment in prevention and treatment reflects the fact that osteoporosis, which is most often the underlying cause of fragility fractures, is neither being assessed nor treated in the majority of people at high risk."

The economic burden of fractures in the European Union is expected to grow as as the number of seniors increases in Europe. Studies have estimated that the number of fractures will more than double by 2050 unless preventive action is taken.
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* The economic burden of fractures in the European Union in 2010. Kanis JA, Compston J, Cooper C et al. Osteoporos Int Vol 23 (2012), Supplement 2 (Abstract 0C1)

ABOUT IOF

The International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) is the world's largest nongovernmental organization devoted to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and related musculoskeletal diseases. IOF members - including committees of scientific researchers, patient, medical and research societies, and industry representatives from around the globe - share a common vision of a bone healthy future without fragility fractures. IOF now represents more than 200 societies in all regions of the world. http://www.iofbonehealth.org

ABOUT ESCEO

The European Society for Clinical and Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis (ESCEO) is a non-profit organization, dedicated to a close interaction between clinical scientists dealing with rheumatic disorders, pharmaceutical industry developing new compounds in this field, regulators responsible for the registration of such drugs and health policy makers, to integrate the management of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis within the comprehensive perspective of health resources utilization. The objective of ESCEO is to provide practitioners with the latest clinical and economic information, allowing them to organize their daily practice, in an evidence-based medicine perspective, with a cost-conscious perception. http://www.esceo.org

International Osteoporosis Foundation

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