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The economic implications of treating atherothrombotic disease in Australia, from the government perspective

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Zanfina Ademi
  • Danny Liew
  • Bruce Hollingsworth
  • Rory Wolfe
  • Gabriel P. Steg
  • Deepak L. Bhatt
  • Christopher M. Reid
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>01/2010
<mark>Journal</mark>Clinical Therapeutics
Issue number1
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)119-132
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Background: The management of atherothrombotic disease is responsible for a large proportion of direct medical costs in most countries, imposing a substantial financial burden on health care payers. There is limited knowledge about direct per-person medical costs using a “bottom-up” approach.

Objective: This study was designed to estimate the per-person direct medical costs incurred by communitybased subjects in Australia who have or are at high risk for atherothrombotic disease. The perspective was a governmental one, at the federal level for pharmaceuticals and at the state level for hospitalizations.

Methods: One-year follow-up data were obtained for Australian participants in the international REACH (Reduction of Atherothrombosis for Continued Health) Registry who were aged ≥45 years and had either established atherothrombotic disease (coronary artery disease, cerebrovascular disease, or peripheral artery disease [PAD]) or ≥3 risk factors for atherothrombotic disease. Information was extracted on the use of cardiovascular medications, hospitalizations, general practice visits, clinical pathology and imaging studies, and use of rehabilitation services. Bottom-up costing was undertaken by assigning unit costs to each health care item, based on Australian government reimbursement data for 2006–2007. Costs were estimated in Australian dollars.

Results: Data for 2873 Australian participants in the REACH Registry were included in the analysis. Mean (SD) annual pharmaceutical costs per person were A$1388 (A$645). Mean ambulatory care costs per person were A$704 (A$492), and mean hospitalization costs were A$10,711 (A$10,494). Compared with participants with ≥3 risk factors (adjusted for age and sex), participants with 2 to 3 affected vascular territories incurred A$160 more in mean pharmaceutical costs (95% CI, 78 to 256) and A$181 more in ambulatory care costs (95% CI, 107 to 252). Mean ambulatory care costs were A$132 greater among participants with PAD only relative to those with ≥3 risk factors (95% CI, 19 to 272). Hospital costs were not significantly increased with an increasing number of affected vascular territories. The greatest difference in direct hospital costs (A$943) was between participants with PAD relative to those with ≥3 risk factors (95% CI, −564 to 3545).

Conclusions: From the government perspective, management of atherothrombotic disease in Australia was costly during the period studied, particularly among those with PAD only or disease affecting 2 to 3 vascular territories. Hospitalization accounted for the majority of health care expenditure associated with atherothrombotic disease, although the number of hospitalized participants was relatively small.