New analysis shows that direct medical costs are major cost driver of Alzheimer’s care in Thailand

Value in Health, the official journal of ISPOR- the professional society for health economics and outcomes research, announced today the publication of an analysis showing that direct medical costs are the major cost driver of Alzheimer's disease care in Thailand, a finding distinct from other countries across the world. The report, "A Real-World Evidence Analysis of Associations Among Costs, Quality of Life, and Disease-Severity Indicators of Alzheimer's Disease in Thailand," was published in the October 2019 issue of Value in Health.

Researchers collected real-world cost and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) data in Alzheimer's disease patients in Thailand, then investigated their associations with multiple disease-severity indicators. Among community-dwelling patients, average annual total societal costs of Alzheimer's disease care were $8014 per patient. Total costs of patients with severe stage ($9860) were almost twice as high as those of mild stage ($5524). Importantly, the major cost driver was direct medical costs, particularly those for Alzheimer's disease prescriptions. The research also determined that increases in cognitive and functional status are significantly associated with decreases in total costs of Alzheimer's disease care and improvement in patient's HRQOL.

When comparing the cost of Alzheimer's disease treatment in Thailand with that in other countries, the authors found substantive disparities. Direct medical costs, constituting 47.2% of the total costs in Thailand, represented a markedly higher percentage of total costs than in other studied countries. Notably, the costs incurred by Alzheimer's disease prescriptions in Thailand were the largest part (39.8%) of direct medical costs.

Our research was guided by the recognition that differences in cultural characteristics and healthcare settings can cause significant variations in Alzheimer's disease cost estimates. Therefore, it is important that each country has its own cost data to precisely discern the extent of impact that Alzheimer's disease imposes on their economy. We found that direct medical costs were the major cost driver of Alzheimer's disease care in Thailand, which is distinct from other countries across the world. Country-specific cost data are essential, because available data from other countries in the same region or income-country group may not be representative of all countries. Cost-effectiveness evidence is warranted to help governments curb the costliness of Alzheimer's disease medications."

Nathorn Chaiyakunapruk, PharmD, PhD, Department of Pharmacotherapy, University of Utah College of Pharmacy, Salt Lake City, UT, USA

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