To estimate the financial burden of schizophrenia in Canada in 1996.
Using a prevalence-based approach, all direct health care costs, administrative costs of income assistance plans, and costs of incarceration attributable to schizophrenia were determined. Also included was the value of lost productivity associated with premature mortality and morbidity. In addition to using published papers and documents, direct contact was made with representatives from various provincial and federal programs for estimates of the direct health care and non-health care costs.
The estimated number of persons with schizophrenia in Canada in 1996 was 221 000, with equal distribution between males and females. The direct health care and non-health care cost was estimated to be $1.12 billion in 1996. In addition, another $1.23 billion in lost productivity associated with morbidity and premature mortality was attributable to schizophrenia.
The total financial burden of schizophrenia in Canada was estimated to be $2.35 billion in 1996. The largest category of cost was morbidity (52%), followed by acute care and psychiatric hospital admissions (14% and 10% respectively). Given the magnitude of these cost estimates, there are large potential cost savings with more effective management and control of this debilitating disease.