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The burden of skin diseases

Author(s): Bickers DR, Lim HW, Margolis D, Weinstock MA, Goodman C, et al.

Abstract

Skin disease is one of the top 15 groups of medical conditions for which prevalence and health care spending increased the most between 1987 and 2000, with approximately 1 of 3 people in the United States with a skin disease at any given time. Even so, a national data profile on skin disease has not been conducted since the late 1970s. This study closes the gap by estimating the prevalence, economic burden, and impact on quality of life for 22 leading categories of skin disease. The estimated annual cost of skin disease in 2004 was $39.3 billion, including $29.1 billion in direct medical costs (costs of health services and products) and $10.2 billion in lost productivity costs (defined as costs related to consumption of medical care, costs associated with impaired ability to work, and lost future earning potential because of premature death). Based on a methodology of willingness to pay for symptom relief, the additional economic burden of skin disease on quality of life amounted to an estimated $56.2 billion. Including the economic burden on quality of life, the total economic burden of skin disease to the US public in 2004 was approximately $96 billion.

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