The burden of illness of osteoporosis in Canada

Osteoporos Int. 2012 Nov;23(11):2591-600. doi: 10.1007/s00198-012-1931-z. Epub 2012 Mar 8.


To update the 1993 burden of illness of osteoporosis in Canada, administrative and community data were used to calculate the 2010 costs of osteoporosis at $2.3 billion in Canada or 1.3% of Canada's healthcare expenditures. Prevention of fractures in high-risk individuals is key to decrease the financial burden of osteoporosis.

Introduction: Since the 1996 publication of the burden of osteoporosis in 1993 in Canada, the population has aged and the management of osteoporosis has changed. The study purpose was to estimate the current burden of illness due to osteoporosis in Canadians aged 50 and over.

Methods: Analyses were conducted using five national administrative databases from the Canadian Institute for Health Information for the fiscal-year ending March 31 2008 (FY 2007/2008). Gaps in national data were supplemented by provincial and community data extrapolated to national levels. Osteoporosis-related fractures were identified using a combination of most responsible diagnosis at discharge and intervention codes. Fractures associated with severe trauma codes were excluded. Costs, expressed in 2010 dollars, were calculated for osteoporosis-related hospitalizations, emergency care, same day surgeries, rehabilitation, continuing care, homecare, long-term care, prescription drugs, physician visits, and productivity losses. Sensitivity analyses were conducted to measure the impact on the results of key assumptions.

Results: Osteoporosis-related fractures were responsible for 57,413 acute care admissions and 832,594 hospitalized days in FY 2007/2008. Acute care costs were estimated at $1.2 billion. When outpatient care, prescription drugs, and indirect costs were added, the overall yearly cost of osteoporosis was over $2.3 billion for the base case analysis and as much as $3.9 billion if a proportion of Canadians were assumed to be living in long-term care facilities due to osteoporosis.

Conclusions: Osteoporosis is a chronic disease that affects a large segment of the adult population and results in a substantial economic burden to the Canadian society.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / economics
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / therapeutic use
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Cost of Illness
  • Drug Costs / statistics & numerical data
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / economics
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Home Care Services / economics
  • Home Care Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitalization / economics
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Care / economics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis / economics
  • Osteoporosis / epidemiology*
  • Osteoporosis / therapy
  • Osteoporotic Fractures / economics
  • Osteoporotic Fractures / epidemiology*
  • Osteoporotic Fractures / therapy
  • Prevalence
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Bone Density Conservation Agents