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Economic burden of pandemic influenza A (H1N1) 2009 in Korea

Issue Date
Dept. of Public Health/박사
The socioeconomic burden of pandemic influenza A (H1N1) 2009 has been debated, but reliable estimates are lacking. To guide future policy and control, these estimates are necessary. The cost of pandemic influenza A (H1N1) 2009 is broadly divided into direct cost, indirect cost, and the cost of the prevention strategy for the disease. The direct cost included direct medical cost and direct non-medical cost (transport cost), while indirect cost included the productivity losses of patients, of caregivers, and those due to premature death. The prevention strategy included the execution of the budget for pandemic influenza A (H1N1) 2009 and the cost of preventative equipment for the general population. Available national surveillance data sources (data from the Health Insurance Review Agency, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Health Insurance Corporation, and the Korean National Statistics Office) were used for this study. We defined the influenza patients as those with a diagnosis of influenza (International Classification of Diseases Codes: J09-11) and our data was collected from May 2009 to April 2010. The cost evaluations showed that the total socioeconomic burden of pandemic influenza A (H1N1) 2009 was ₩ 2,279 billion (10 ~ 90%: ₩ 2,074 ~ 2,564 billion). Furthermore, when the cost of the prevention strategy is excluded, the total cost to society of influenza patients was estimated at ₩ 1,907 billion. The total direct cost of pandemic influenza A (H1N1) 2009 accounted for 23% of the total costs; the total indirect cost for 60% of the total costs; and the prevention strategy for 17% of the total costs. The productivity losses of caregivers (29.8%) and patient (28.9%) were the largest part of total costs, which was followed by the healthcare costs of outpatients and inpatients (16.9%), execution of the budget (14.5%), transport costs (4.2%), cost for preventative equipment (2.3%), and productivity losses due to premature death (1.1%), respectively. This socioeconomic burden estimate confirmed that pandemic influenza A (H1N1) 2009 was a significant burden to the health-care system in Korea. Therefore, successful prevention of pandemic influenza A (H1N1) 2009 implies that considerable savings of economic resources will be ensured in the future.
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