The Economic impact of ME/CFS: Individual and societal costs

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This article discusses the economic impact of Myalgic Encephalopathy and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome by examining the direct and indirect costs to the individual and to society.

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8 p.

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Jason, Leonard A.; Benton, Mary C.; Valentine, Lisa M.; Johnson, Abra & Torres-Harding, Susan April 8, 2008.

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This article discusses the economic impact of Myalgic Encephalopathy and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome by examining the direct and indirect costs to the individual and to society.

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8 p.

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Background: ME/CFS is characterized by debilitating fatigue in addition to other physical and cognitive symptoms. It is estimated to affect over 800,000 adults in the U.S. ME/CFS often results in diminished functionality and increased economic impact. The economic impact of an illness is generally divided into two categories: direct and indirect costs. Despite high prevalence rates and the disabling nature of the illness, few studies have examined the costs of ME/CFS at the individual and societal level. In fact, of the four studies examining the economic impact of ME/ME/CFS only two used a U.S. sample. The current study used community and tertiary samples to examine the direct costs of ME/CFS. Methods: Using archival data, Study 1 examined the direct cost of ME/CFS in a community-based sample in Chicago. Study 2 estimated the direct cost of ME/CFS in a tertiary sample in Chicago. Both Study 1 and Study 2 assessed direct costs using office visit costs, medical test costs, and medication costs. Results: For Study 1, the annual direct total cost per ME/CFS patient was estimated to be $2,342, with the total annual direct cost of ME/CFS to society being approximately $2 billion. In Study 2, the annual direct was estimated to be $8,675 per ME/CFS patient, with the total annual direct cost of ME/CFS to society being approximately $7 billion. Conclusion: Using ME/CFS prevalence data of 0.42 and indirect costs estimates from Reynolds et al. (2004), the direct and indirect cost of ME/CFS to society was estimated to be $18,677,912,000 for the community sample and $23,972,300,000 for the tertiary sample. These findings indicate that whether or not individuals are recruited from a community or tertiary sample, ME/CFS imposes substantial economic costs.

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  • Dynamic Medicine, 2008, London: BioMed Central

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  • Publication Title: Dynamic Medicine
  • Volume: 7
  • Issue: 6
  • Peer Reviewed: Yes

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  • April 8, 2008

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  • Nov. 30, 2012, 9:15 a.m.

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  • July 18, 2013, 12:42 p.m.

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Jason, Leonard A.; Benton, Mary C.; Valentine, Lisa M.; Johnson, Abra & Torres-Harding, Susan. The Economic impact of ME/CFS: Individual and societal costs, article, April 8, 2008; [London, United Kingdom]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc122163/: accessed July 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Arts and Sciences.