NICE, France — Glaucoma demographics and health economics studies show high costs related to progressive glaucoma, the greatest of which are non-medical, indirect costs, a presenter here said.
“The frightening thing is that 50% of the people with glaucoma in the developed world do not know they have the disease. In less-developed areas, the percentage is of course much higher,” she said.
The overall population of progressive glaucoma patients encompasses different patient categories, ranging from those who are untreated because they are unaware of the disease to those who have no access to treatment, and from those who are not compliant with the treatment to those who progress in spite of treatment.
“The result is severe end-of-life visual impairment with consequent loss of independence, need for support and services,” Meier-Gibbons said.
Health economics data from all countries show the heavy impact of indirect costs in these cases. The amount is double the cost of treatment, increasing up to several billions of dollars in western countries.
On the one hand, the issue of poor compliance should be addressed, according to Meier-Gibbons. Studies have shown a variable rate of adherence, between 30% and 70%, with a sizeable reduction after only 1 month of treatment.
On the other hand, there is a part of the world’s population that cannot afford treatment. A study on the economic burden of glaucoma in Nigeria showed that the cost of required medications was between 50% and 100% of the monthly income of patients.
“It’s certainly not surprising if compliance issues arise,” Meier-Gibbons said.
Disclosure: Meier-Gibbons is a consultant or receives travel grants from Alcon, Allergan, MSD, Santen, and Théa.
For more information:
Adio AO. Clin Ophthalmol. 2012;6:2023-2031.