Economic cost analysis and predictions should not only be of interest to policy makers or politicians but are of crucial importance to health care systems and physicians. Health economic calculations on medical conditions are important and necessary information for the justification of new therapeutics.
Previous studies on hospitalization and rehabilitation costs on specific type of fractures have either provided conflicting results or only reported on associated costs in the short term.
The authors of the article “The economic burden of severe osteoporotic fractures in the French healthcare database: the FRACTOS study” analysed health resource utilization and associated costs of all patients over 50 years of age who were hospitalized for a severe osteoporotic fracture in France over a six-year period (2009-2014). Data on cost were retrieved from the French national healthcare database (SNDS). The study found that out of 356,895 patients who were included 10.5% were re-hospitalized for a fracture-related reason in the year after the initial fracture. Only 16.7% of patients who sustained a fracture received a specific osteoporosis treatment. The total annual per capita osteoporosis-related cost in the year after the index fracture was €18,040 and the vast majority of the costs were fracture related costs. Over the 5 year follow up period, the costs of fracture treatment continued to dominate those of osteoporosis management. The variables which were associated with higher cost were older age, male sex, site of fracture, a history of prior osteoporotic fracture, and importantly the number of refracture events. The authors highlight that the estimated cost of these fractures to the French public health system was higher than the reported medical cost of management of coronary artery disease and comparable to that of chronic heart failure. The study, funded by a pharmaceutical company, concludes that improved fracture prevention measures in patients with osteoporosis is crucial to reduce the significant economic burden of the disease.