Parkinson’s Disease puts a significant economic burden on people living with PD, their families and society. This emphasizes the need for research to more effectively treat and eventually stop Parkinson’s Disease.
It is important to note that the study bases its economic projections on an estimate that 630,000 people are living with PD. But this number is under debate with estimates ranging from 500,000 to one million.
Publications in “Movement Disorders”, titled “The Current and Projected Economic Burden of Parkinson’s Disease in the United States” and “An Economic Model of Parkinson’s Disease: Implications for Slowing Progression in the United States” provide the following data:
- based on previously published data, the report estimated that approximately 630,000 people in the United States had a diagnosis of PD in 2010
- it estimates that the number of people living with PD will double by 2040
- nationally, the report estimates the economic burden of PD, including both medical and non-medical costs, at more than $14.4 billion in 2010, or $22,800 per person on average
- the report estimates the burden of only disease-related medical expenses (not accounting for reduced employment, etc.) for people with PD at $8.1 billion total, or $12,800 per person
- the report estimates that the burden of non-medical costs added $6.3 billion to the economic burden of PD, or close to $10,000 per person living with PD
- 15% of people with PD were living in nursing homes, as compared to 9% of all residents aged 75-84
- nursing home care accounted for more than $5 billion of PD-related medical costs; overall, people with PD were more than ten times as likely than people who did not have PD to live in a nursing home
According to the American Journal of Managed Care, the annual economic impact of Parkinson’s Disease in the United States is around $10.8 billion, including both direct medical expenses and indirect costs such as lost income, disability payments and medical costs.
The financial burden of Parkinson’s Disease on individuals and their families is immense. Drugs commonly used to treat Parkinson’s Disease can cost up to $6,000 per year per patient. Surgical treatments for Parkinson’s Disease can cost $25,000 or more. As the disease progresses, institutional care at an assisted-living facility or nursing home may be required and these costs can exceed $100,000, per person annually.
Studies have indicated that for every dollar spent on high quality research $13 could be saved in direct and indirect costs. If new therapies could be found that could produce even a modest ten percent delay in the progression of Parkinson’s Disease, hundreds of millions of dollars could be saved every year.
Currently Parkinson’s Disease is being treated with one of the following options:
- L-dopa + decarboxilase inhibitors
- Dopamine agonists
- MAO-B inhibitors
- COMT inhibitors
- Amantadine, apomorphine
- Neurosurgical procedures inhibiting specific brain structures (GPi, subthalamic nucleus) through their chronic electric stimulation (Deep Brain Stimulation)
The L-dopa therapy, which is widely spread, has several long-term complications:
- end-of dose effects
- on-off fluctuactions of motor symptoms
- dyskinesias: involuntary movements of the head, trunk, upper or lower limbs
- potential neurotoxic effects: the auto-oxidation of dopamine with production of Reactive Oxigen Species, may result in oxidative stress for neurons
Most drugs currently used for treatment of PD increase dopaminergic transmission. However, in PD patients dopaminergic drugs may give rise to complications, such as fluctuactions of motor Parkinsonian symptoms and dyskinesias. Pharmacological strategies based on non-dopaminergic mechanisms are now being adopted as a new approach to treatment of PD and Parkinsonian syndromes.