Results from the pan-European, community-based inception cohort study (Epi-IBD) published in Lancet Gastroenterology Hepatology reveal that overall direct healthcare expenditure associated with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) decreases over the first five years after diagnosis.
IBD places a significant burden on healthcare systems due to its chronicity and requirement for expensive therapies and surgery. Contemporary data on IBD healthcare costs are important for payers in Europe.
During the five years after diagnosis, the 1,289 enrolled patients accumulated costs exceeding €13 million, of which a third was spent on biologicals. Patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis had higher costs (mean €3,542 and €2,088 per patient per year, respectively). Costs were highest in the first year when hospitalisations and diagnostic procedures accounted for more than 50 per cent. During follow-up, the cost for procedures, hospitalisations, and surgeries declined, paralleled by increasing expenditure on biologicals which, by the fifth year, accounted for 48%-73% of costs per patient.
This study highlights the challenges of achieving the maximal benefits of biological therapy in a real-world setting. Precise benefits of biological therapy on IBD outcomes in a real-world setting is still not fully understood, further studies into treatment optimisation are necessary.