Putting a Price Tag on Crohn's

Medical economists estimate Crohn's disease is responsible for $3.48 billion in total national costs (expected to increase to $3.72 billion in 2025).

Crohn’s disease costs the US billions of dollars in medical costs, lost earnings, and overall quality of life.

In an analysis of data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, health economists at Evidera, in Lexington, Mass., calculated the impact of Crohn’s disease on medical costs, lost earnings, work and school absences, health status, and health-related quality of life.

They looked at survey responses from 539 participants with Crohn’s compared with another group of similar participants without the condition, as well as scores on the SF-12 Physical Component Summary and Mental Component Summary to assess quality of life. They used Crohn’s disease prevalence rates, population counts, and costs to forecast total national costs.

Currently, 593,000 to 780,000 people in the US have been diagnosed with Crohn's disease, and an additional 33,000 are diagnosed each year.

Respondents with Crohn’s disease were more likely to miss work (38 versus 33 percent) or school (64 versus 33 percent) and less likely to report being in excellent or very good physical health (24 versus 63 percent). Those with Crohn’s experienced a lower health-related quality of life as well.

Overall, the team found that Crohn’s is associated with higher medical costs ($13,446 versus $6,029) and lost earnings ($1,249 versus $644). They estimated that it is responsible for $3.48 billion in total national costs (expected to increase to $3.72 billion in 2025).

“Crohn’s disease is responsible for increased medical care costs and lower earnings, health status, and quality of life,” wrote Michael L. Ganz, MS., PhD., senior research scientist, and colleagues in the May 2016 issue of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. These data can serve as benchmarks when examining future [Crohn’s disease]-related costs and health-related quality of life. The article was first published online ahead of print in on March 14.