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General disease costing principles


The term “disease costing” applies to those economic appraisal methodologies that ascertain the cost borne by a community because of a disease. This approach has been used to calculate the social and economic costs, in terms of loss of productivity, caused by a disease that only in the most serious cases results in the death of an individual. The production losses, also defined as indirect costs, are not the only social costs caused by diseases. In addition we point also to the negative variations that are reflected onto two fundamental quantities: consumption of resources and state of health. In addition to production losses and consumption of resources, the third group is unquestionably the most important in the healthcare sector, since it deals directly with variations in the state of health. This group is denoted by the term “human costs”. In the headache field, we are far behind other pathologies, where there is a greater knowledge of the economic aspects of both the pathology-related costs and the likely benefits resulting from different therapeutical approaches. Notwithstanding the disease costing problems that are also reflected in the cost-benefit techniques, it is important for the economic analysis to gain ground since there is a growing need to keep account of the available resources and the results attainable in the healthcare policies, from the central to the peripheral levels, where the valuation tools prove even more expedient.

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Correspondence to F.S. Mennini

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Sofio, A., Mazzuca, F. & Mennini, F. General disease costing principles. J Headache Pain 4 (Suppl 1), s55–s58 (2003).

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