Health care costs of influenza-related episodes in high income countries: A systematic review
Cergas (Centre for Research on Health and Social Care Management), SDA Bocconi School of Management, Milan
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INTRODUCTION: This study systematically reviews costing studies of seasonal influenza-like illness (ILI) in high-income countries. Existing reviews on the economic impact of ILI do not report information on drug consumption and its costs, nor do they provide data on the overall cost per episode. METHODS: The PRISMA-P checklist was used to design the research protocol. Studies included were cost of illness analysis (COI) and modeling studies that estimated the cost of ILI episodes. Records were searched from January 2000 to December 2016 in electronic bibliographic databases including Medline, Embase, Science Direct, the Cochrane Library, the Centre for Reviews and Disseminations of the University of York, and Google scholar. References from the included studies were hand-searched for completion. Abstract screening, full-text analysis and data extraction were performed by two reviewers independently and discrepancies were resolved by discussion with a third reviewer. A standardized, pre-piloted form was used for data extraction. All costs were converted to 2015 US$ Purchasing Power Parities. RESULTS: The literature search identified 5,104 records. After abstract and title screening, 76 studies were analyzed full-text and 27 studies were finally included in the review. Full estimates of the cost per episode range from US$19 in Korea to US$323 in Germany. Particularly, the cost per episode of laboratory confirmed influenza cases was estimated between US$64 and US$73. Inpatient and outpatient services account for the majority of the costs. Differences in the estimates may reflect country-specific characteristics, as well as other study-specific features including study design, identification strategy of ILI cases, study populations and types of costs included in the analysis. Children usually register higher costs, whereas evidence for the elderly is less conclusive. Patients risk-profile, co-morbidities and complications are the other important cost-drivers. None of the papers considered appropriateness in resource use (e.g. abuse of antibiotics). Despite cost of illness studies have ultimately a descriptive role, evidence on (in)appropriateness is useful for policy-makers.