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Cost of cardiovascular disease exceeds entire EU budget in member countries

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | August 30, 2023
Cardiology European News
The costs of cardiovascular disease care in the EU surpassed the bloc's entire annual budget in 2021
In a new study, researchers say that lack of investment in cardiovascular disease care has cost EU countries financially, with the amount spent in 2021 significantly higher than the bloc’s entire budget that year and the one set forth for this year.

Presenting their findings at ESC Congress 2023, the authors from the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) and the University of Oxford in the U.K., said cardiovascular disease costs in the EU were €282 billion in 2021, compared to the bloc’s €164.2 billion then and its €186.6 billion budget now.

The most comprehensive and up-to-date on economic costs for cardiovascular disease since 2006, the study is the first to use Europe-wide patient registries and surveys instead of assumptions and also for the first time includes costs for long-term social care.
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Together, healthcare (€130 billion) and social care (€25 billion) made up 55% of the entire price for cardiovascular disease care and 11% of EU health expenditures. Informal (unpaid) care cost €79 billion (28%); followed by €32 billion in productivity losses (lost earnings) from premature death (12%); and €15 billion in productivity losses due to illness/disability (5%).

The total cost per EU citizen was €630, with significant fragmentation in healthcare expenditures for cardiovascular disease among different countries creating a range of €381 in Cyprus to €903 in Germany. Additionally, the proportion of healthcare budgets spent on cardiovascular disease ranged from 6% in Denmark to 19% in Hungary.

The authors say that these substantial costs illustrate the need for better regulations aimed at prevention and investment in research.

“By choosing not to invest in cardiovascular disease we are simply deferring the cost. These data force us to ask the question: Do we invest in cardiovascular health today or be forced to pay more at a later stage,” said ESC board member and study author professor Victor Aboyans, of Limoges University in France, in a statement.

Hospital care represented 51% of cardiovascular disease-related care costs, at €79 billion. Cardiovascular disease medications followed behind at €31 billion (20%), along with residential nursing care homes at €15 billion (9%). For informal care, defined as work and leisure time that relatives and friends provided in unpaid care, costs were €79 billion across the EU for a total of 7.5 billion hours of unpaid care.

Additionally, productivity losses from 1.7 million deaths cost the EU €32 billion and a loss of 1.3 million working years. Those from illness and disability, which led to early retirement and absenteeism, cost it €15 billion and a loss of 256 million working days.

ESC nor the authors responded in time for publication.

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