The Economic Impact of Childhood Food Allergy in the United States
ABSTRACT IMPORTANCE Describing the economic impact of childhood food allergy in the United States is important to guide public health policies. OBJECTIVE To determine the economic impact of childhood food allergy in the United States and caregivers' willingness to pay for food allergy treatment. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS A cross-sectional survey was conducted from November 28, 2011, through January 26, 2012. A representative sample of 1643 US caregivers of a child with a current food allergy were recruited for participation. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES Caregivers of children with food allergies were asked to quantify the direct medical, out-of-pocket, lost labor productivity, and related opportunity costs. As an alternative valuation approach, caregivers were asked their willingness to pay for an effective food allergy treatment. RESULTS The overall economic cost of food allergy was estimated at $24.8 (95% CI, $20.6-$29.4) billion annually ($4184 per year per child). Direct medical costs were $4.3 (95% CI, $2.8-$6.3) billion annually, including clinician visits, emergency department visits, and hospitalizations. Costs borne by the family totaled $20.5 billion annually, including lost labor productivity, out-of-pocket, and opportunity costs. Lost labor productivity costs totaled $0.77 (95% CI, $0.53-$1.0) billion annually, accounting for caregiver time off work for medical visits. Out-of-pocket costs were $5.5 (95% CI, $4.7-$6.4) billion annually, with 31% stemming from the cost of special foods. Opportunity costs totaled $14.2 (95% CI, $10.5-$18.4) billion annually, relating to a caregiver needing to leave or change jobs. Caregivers reported a willingness to pay of $20.8 billion annually ($3504 per year per child) for food allergy treatment. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Childhood food allergy results in significant direct medical costs for the US health care system and even larger costs for families with a food-allergic child.
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ABSTRACT: We previously reported that indirect and intangible costs burden households with a food allergic adult. We now extend our investigation to households with food allergic children and adolescents. The objective of this study was to estimate direct, indirect, and intangible costs of food allergy in households with a child and/or adolescent with objectively diagnosed allergy to staple foods (cow's milk, hen's egg, and/or wheat), and to compare these costs with age- and sex-matched controls. Direct and indirect cost parent-reported data collected via the Food Allergy Socio-Economic Questionnaire of 84 children (0-12 years) and 60 adolescents (13-17 years) with objectively diagnosed allergy to staple foods ("cases") and age- and sex-matched controls (n = 94 children; n = 56 adolescents) were compared. Annual household costs were calculated. Total household costs included direct plus indirect costs. Intangible costs included parent-reported health of their child and/or adolescent, standard of living, and perceptions of well-being. Amongst cases, total household costs were higher by €3961 for children and €4792 for adolescents versus controls (P < .05), and were driven by direct (eg, medications) and indirect (eg, time with health care professionals) costs. For children only, a history of anaphylaxis was associated with higher direct costs than no anaphylaxis (€13,016 vs €10,044, P < .05). Intangible costs (eg, parent-reported health of a child and/or adolescent) were significantly impacted amongst cases versus controls (P < .01). Households with a child and/or adolescent with objectively diagnosed allergy to staple foods have higher total household costs than controls. Direct and indirect costs were significantly higher for cases versus controls amongst children only. Amongst both age groups, such allergy adversely impacted intangible costs. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Article: Food Allergy Quality of Life.Annals of allergy, asthma & immunology: official publication of the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology 11/2014; 113(5):506-512. DOI:10.1016/j.anai.2014.06.027 · 2.75 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Food allergy (FA) can have serious psychosocial and economic repercussions on food-allergic children and their caregivers and be associated with negative effects on their quality of life. Food allergen immunotherapy (IT) is a promising experimental therapy but can be linked to anxiety. This study investigated the effects of IT on FA-specific health-related quality of life (HRQL) over a 24 month-follow-up in caregivers of children with single and multiple food allergies. We hypothesized that characteristics such as age, asthma at baseline and respiratory allergic reactions during therapy were key characteristics that influenced HRQL scores. A validated Food Allergy Quality of Life - Parental Burden Questionnaire (FAQL-PB) was used to assess HRQL. It was randomly distributed to and filled out by caregivers of 57 food-allergic children enrolled in clinical trials of IT. The same parent answered the FABQL-PB questionnaire at baseline and for 6-month, 12- month, 18- month, and 24-month time points on IT. Caregiver HRQL improved significantly (change < - 0.5, p <0.0001) at each follow-up time point compared to baseline. The percentages of caregivers with improvement in HRQL progressively increased (92% at 24 month-follow-up time point compared to baseline). HRQL improved more in caregivers of participants older than 10 years or desensitized to more than 4 food allergens than those who were not (p <0.0001). Caregivers of participants with pre-existing asthma or dose-related respiratory allergic reactions had less improvement in HRQL than those who did not (p <0.01). IT lead to improvement in caregiver HRQL. Certain characteristics were associated with greater improvements in caregiver HRQL.Allergy Asthma and Clinical Immunology 01/2014; 10(1):57. DOI:10.1186/1710-1492-10-57