Published on Aug 03, 2011 with 2 comments
In this month’s issue of The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, researchers studied the economic impact of food induced allergic reactions in the United States over a one year duration. Their results were extrapolated from 35,000 patients who received medical attention resulting from an allergic reaction to food, including anaphylaxis, in 2007.
The study included patients of all ages, but 10% of all costs were generated by children four years of age or younger. The study calculated direct costs, such as physician office visits and hospital visits during or as a result of a food induced allergic reaction, as well as the estimated indirect costs including wages lost by adult patients and the parents of children treated and admitted to the hospital.
Direct costs were estimated to be $225 million. Doctor’s visits accounted for 52.5% of costs. Emergency room visits accounted for 20%, inpatient hospitalizations approximately 12%, outpatient visits 4.0%, ambulance costs 3%. Epipen or other epinephrine devices made up almost 9% of the direct costs. Indirect costs were approximately $115 million. In total, it is likely that the economic impact of food induced allergic reactions is approaching one half billion dollars a year. That’s nothing to sneeze at!