Financial burden of atopic dermatitis and resource utilisation

Calculating the financial costs of atopic dermatitis is challenging given how common and heterogeneous it is. The costs include prescriptions, physician visits, emergency and hospital costs and over-the-counter (OTC) pharmacy costs as well as indirect costs such as absenteeism and presenteeism (Drucker et al., 2017b). These costs can be substantial, with 75% of patients reporting at least one doctor visit in the last year specifically for their atopic dermatitis (Silverberg, 2015). More recently, comparison of patients with and without atopic dermatitis in the 2013 U.S. National Health and Wellness Survey revealed significant differences in healthcare resource use and costs (Eckert et al., 2018).

Healthcare resource utilisation in patients with atopic dermatitis versus matched controls without atopic dermatitis.

Figure 13: Healthcare resource utilisation in patients with atopic dermatitis versus matched controls without atopic dermatitis (Eckert et al., 2018).

A 2006 joint study between the American Academy of Dermatology and the Society for Investigative Dermatology sought to identify the direct and indirect costs for a range of skin diseases in the U.S. including atopic dermatitis. Direct costs of $1.009 billion and indirect costs of $3.219 billion gave a 2004 cost for managing atopic dermatitis of $4.228 billon (Bickers et al., 2006). This is the equivalent of well over $5 billion dollars today and may well be an underestimate of the true costs due to the use of low prevalence estimates, an absence of OTC product costs and some productivity losses (Drucker et al., 2017b).