Which diseases prompt the most spending in Australia?

Jolyon Attwooll

6/04/2022 5:08:30 PM

A new analysis published by the AIHW has ranked the spending per case of each disease in Australia for the first time.

Hepatitis C test
A new and highly expensive cure for hepatitis C increased spending on the disease.

A new report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) has detailed the conditions that prompted the highest spending.
Heading the list, which includes expenditure on conditions in 2018−19, is hepatitis C, which attracted an outlay of around $1 million per case during that time.
The AIHW said there was particularly high spending per case during that time due to the introduction of a new and highly expensive cure for the condition.
‘Over time it is expected that both the overall spending and spending per case has declined,’ their report states.

Other conditions that attracted high spending include:

  • benign and uncertain brain tumours with a total of $500,000 per case
  • hepatitis B at $300,000
  • appendicitis at $300,000
  • chronic myeloid leukaemia at $200,000.
Of the different types of cancer, spending was highest for breast cancer at an estimated $61,000 per case, followed by prostate cancer ($50,000), cervical cancer ($44,000) and lung cancer ($29,000).

The average spending on cancers and other neoplasms was the most expensive of all the disease categories at around $12,000 per case during the 12-month timeframe.

For cardiovascular diseases, aortic aneurysms caused the most spending per case at around $68,000, significantly in front of hypertensive heart disease ($22,000).

Under the category of mental health and substance use disorders, schizophrenia was the most expensive, with spending of around $22,000 per case, while multiple sclerosis was the most costly neurological condition per case ($21,000), followed by Guillain-Barre syndrome ($11,000).

The AIHW report states that $24 billion of spending could be attributed to ‘potentially avoidable risk factors’, including $8 billion linked to obesity and tobacco use.

‘Expenditure due to modifiable risk factors in this report refers to health system spending on a burden of disease condition that can be attributed to people having a particular risk factor, eg history of smoking,’ the report states.

‘It is not spending on addressing the risk factor itself, ie not the amount of money spent on trying to reduce tobacco consumption across the Australian population.’

The AIHW said the report is the first it has published with estimates of this nature, and that the most recent data available at a national level was used.

Conditions with fewer than 20 cases were not included in the analysis.

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Dr Joanna Kay Senior   7/04/2022 8:59:59 AM

Appendicitis $300000? Really. Is this correct ?

Dr MC   7/04/2022 2:38:21 PM

Perhaps providing clean needles and injecting equipment in prisons will help save lots of health dollars. It is definitely a common setting for new and reinfections of hepatitis C

Dr Amanda Angeline Hipwell   13/04/2022 2:09:51 PM

Appendicitis @ 300k cant be correct