Economic burden of food allergy in Canada
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BACKGROUND: Limited data exist on the economic burden of food allergy (FA). OBJECTIVE: To assess FA-related direct (healthcare and out-of-pocket) and indirect (lost productivity) costs and their determinants in Canadian children and adults self-reporting FA. METHODS: FA-individuals self-reporting a convincing history or physician diagnosis were recruited through FA registries, an anaphylaxis registry, and advocacy associations, and electronically surveyed regarding FA-related healthcare use, out-of-pocket expenditures, and time lost from paid and unpaid labor. Direct and indirect costs (2020 Canadian dollars [CAD]) were stratified on severe reaction vs mild, moderate or no reaction, and children vs adults; multivariate regressions assessed the association between costs and sociodemographic and disease characteristics. RESULTS: Between May 2018 and July 2019, 2692 eligible individuals responded (2189 convincing history and 503 physician diagnosis only); 1020 experienced a severe reaction; 1752 were children. Per FA-individual, annual healthcare, out-of-pocket, and indirect costs were $1267, $2136, and $7950. Those with a severe reaction had higher healthcare and out-of-pocket costs than those with mild, moderate or no reaction. FA-children vs FA-adults had higher healthcare and out-of-pocket costs, and lower indirect costs. Multivariate results showed that lower age, a severe reaction ever, multiple FAs, and fair or poor general health were associated with higher healthcare and out-of-pocket costs. Higher age, lower household education and income, and fair or poor general health were associated with higher indirect costs. CONCLUSION: The economic burden of FA in Canada is substantial, particularly for those with a severe reaction ever, multiple FAs, and fair or poor general health. It is crucial that those most adversely affected are allocated appropriate resources to support disease management.
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