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Enormous Economic Costs of Depression

Depression Causes Enormous Costs To European Society

Not only does depression put a physical and emotional strain on the individuals, but it is also associated with enormous costs both to themselves as well as to society at large, a recent study suggests.

The results from the study concluded that the total cost of depression in 28 European countries was estimated at €118 billion in 2004 ($139 billion USD). This corresponds to 1 percent of the total size of the economy of the countries studied, equating to about €250 ($295 USD) per European citizen, per year. The cost of drugs to combat depression accounted for €9 billion ($10.5 billion) or 9 percent of the total cost.

In the 28 countries with a total population of 466 million, at least 21 million were affected by depression per year. Switzerland had the highest cost per patient average at €8,000 ($9,370) per patient followed by Germany at about €7,800 ($9,136) per patient.

The study is part of a European project investigating the total cost of brain disorders in Europe and includes over 250 clinical and health economic researchers in the area of neuroscience (www.ebc-eurobrain.net). The aim of the study was to estimate the total cost of depression in Europe based on available information about the epidemiology and economic consequences of the disease.

Depression is the most burdensome brain disorder in Europe and one of the most disabling diseases that causes a significant burden to both individuals and to society. Yet, the knowledge of the economic cost that depression causes society has not been investigated in Europe previously.

Economic data was obtained from Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

This study and others was recently presented at the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) 8th Annual European Congress in Florence, Italy and published in the November/December 2005 issue of Value in Health.


ISPOR is a nonprofit, international organization that translates pharmacoeconomics and outcomes research into practice to ensure that society allocates scarce health care resources wisely, fairly, and efficiently.

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