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The economic burden of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in Australia: a cost of illness study


Cox, IA and de Graaff, B and Ahmed, H and Campbell, J and Otahal, P and Corte, TJ and Moodley, Y and Goh, N and Hopkins, P and Macansh, S and Walters, EH and Palmer, AJ, The economic burden of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in Australia: a cost of illness study, The European Journal of Health Economics pp. 1-19. ISSN 1618-7601 (2020) [Refereed Article]

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© 2022. The Authors. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License (, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

DOI: doi:10.1007/s10198-022-01538-7


Purpose: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a type of interstitial lung disease found mostly in elderly persons, characterized by a high symptom burden and frequent encounters with health services. This study aimed to quantify the economic burden of IPF in Australia with a focus on resource utilization and associated direct costs.

Methods: Participants were recruited from the Australian IPF Registry (AIPFR) between August 2018 and December 2019. Data on resource utilization and costs were collected via cost diaries and linked administrative data. Clinical data were collected from the AIPFR. A "bottom up" costing methodology was utilized, and the costing was performed from a partial societal perspective focusing primarily on direct medical and non-medical costs. Costs were standardized to 2021 Australian dollars ($).

Results: The average annual total direct costs per person with IPF was $31,655 (95% confidence interval (95% CI): $27,723–$35,757). Extrapolating costs based on prevalence estimates, the total annual costs in Australia are projected to be $299 million (95% CI: $262 million–$338 million). Costs were mainly driven by antifibrotic medication, hospital admissions and medications for comorbidities. Disease severity, comorbidities and antifibrotic medication all had varying impacts on resource utilization and costs.

Conclusions: This cost-of-illness study provides the first comprehensive assessment of IPF-related direct costs in Australia, identifies the key cost drivers and provides a framework for future health economic analyses. Additionally, it provided insight into the major cost drivers which include antifibrotic medication, hospital admissions and medications related to comorbidities. Our findings emphasize the importance of the appropriate management of comorbidities in the care of people with IPF as this was one of the main reasons for hospitalizations.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, respiratory disease, cost of illness, economic burden
Research Division:Economics
Research Group:Applied economics
Research Field:Health economics
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Public health (excl. specific population health) not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Cox, IA (Dr Ingrid Cox)
UTAS Author:de Graaff, B (Dr Barbara de Graaff)
UTAS Author:Ahmed, H (Dr Hasnat Ahmad)
UTAS Author:Campbell, J (Dr Julie Campbell)
UTAS Author:Otahal, P (Mr Petr Otahal)
UTAS Author:Walters, EH (Professor Haydn Walters)
UTAS Author:Palmer, AJ (Professor Andrew Palmer)
ID Code:154084
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:2
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2022-10-27
Last Modified:2023-01-04
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