Cost of Illness


Health Economics

  • A narrow interpretation of the cost imposed by illness focuses merely on the financial consequences of poor health (often misleadingly - and, to economists, offensively - described as 'economic') such as lost earnings from work, expenditure on health services, drugs, etc. Other approaches use an essentially accounting concept of 'cost', that is, the historical record of outcomes (mostly financial) of decisions taken in the past. A wider interpretation seeks to identify the true social opportunity costs of being ill with perhaps shadow prices being attached to lost working time, informal carers' time spent nursing, health services received, etc. This is essentially forward-looking and predictive.