Objective: To prospectively evaluate the health economic burden of patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) in Germany over a 6-month observation period and to identify the predictors of these costs.
Study design and methods: Direct and indirect costs were evaluated in 145 patients with PD (mean age 67.3 +/- 9.6 years). PD patients were recruited from an outpatient department for movement disorders, a specialised PD clinic, two office-based neurologists and general practitioners, all located in Germany, and were enrolled between January and June 2000. Relevant economic data were documented in a patient diary over the 6-month period. Clinical evaluations (Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale [UPDRS]) were performed at baseline and at 3 and 6 months. Costs were derived from various German medical economic resources. Costs were calculated from the perspective of healthcare and transfer payment providers and the individual patient. Indirect costs for lost productivity were also calculated. Costs are presented as means +/- standard deviation (SD). Multivariate regression analyses were performed to identify independent cost predictors. Costs are in year 2000-02 values.
Results: We estimated average per patient direct, indirect and total costs for the 6-month observation period. The costs from the perspective of statutory health insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenkversicherung [GKV]) consisted of direct medical costs 1370 euro +/- 3240 euro, including rehabilitation (420 euro +/- 1630 euro), hospitalisation (710 euro +/-2520 euro), outpatient treatment (40 euro +/- 30 euro), ancillary treatment (190 euro +/- 280 euro) and ambulatory diagnostic procedures (10 euro +/-30 euro). In addition, parkinsonian drug costs were 1520 euro +/-euro1250. Non-medical direct costs calculated from the GKV perspective were estimated to be euro480 +/-euro1710, which included transportation (10 euro+/- 20 euro), special equipment (420 euro +/- 1640 euro), social/home-help services (10 euro +/-110 euro) and sickness benefit (40 euro +/- 540 euro). The total medical (including drug costs) and non-medical direct costs for the GKV were 3380 euro +/- 4230 euro. Univariate predictors for GKV direct costs included occurrence of motor complications and falls, disease severity, nightmares and dementia. However, multivariate analyses only suggested disease severity and health-related quality of life as significant predictors. For nursing insurance, payments of 1330 euro +/- 2890 euro were calculated. For retirement insurance, payments were 650 euro +/- 1510 euro and there were patient (or caregiver) costs of 1490 euro +/- 2730 euro. Total indirect costs amounted to 3180 euro +/-6480 euro.
Conclusion: According to our study, PD puts a high financial burden on society and underscores the need for further economic and medical research to optimise treatment for PD.