Economic burden of food allergy in Canada
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BackgroundLimited data exist on the economic burden of food allergy (FA).
ObjectiveTo 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.
MethodsFA-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.
ResultsBetween 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.
ConclusionThe 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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