Digestive Diseases Cost $141.8 Billion Annually

March 14, 2009

Digestive diseases are costly to manage, with annual costs totaling $141.8 billion in 2004 (Figure 1), according to an NIH report. Direct costs associated with digestive diseases jumped from $85 billion in 1998 to nearly $98 billion in 2004. Prescription drug costs alone were $12.3 billion. Indirect costs for digestive diseases more than doubled, from $20 billion in 1998 to $44 billion in 2004, of which $32.8 billion was associated with lost productivity caused by increased mortality.

Digestive diseases are costly to manage, with annual costs totaling $141.8 billion in 2004 (Figure 1), according to an NIH report. Direct costs associated with digestive diseases jumped from $85 billion in 1998 to nearly $98 billion in 2004. Prescription drug costs alone were $12.3 billion. Indirect costs for digestive diseases more than doubled, from $20 billion in 1998 to $44 billion in 2004, of which $32.8 billion was associated with lost productivity caused by increased mortality.

Digestive cancers were the most costly digestive diseases in total annual costs, accounting for $24.1 billion (Figure 2); $9.5 billion was for colorectal cancer and $4.3 billion was for pancreatic cancer. The NIH report also showed that diverticular disease cost $4.0 billion; pancreatitis, $3.7 billion; viral hepatitis (A, B, and C), $3.3 billion; peptic ulcer disease, $3.1 billion; and appendicitis, $2.6 billion.

Approximately 70 million US adults are affected by digestive diseases. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) estimates that 50 million persons are lactose intolerant (Figure 3).