Epilepsy Australia engaged Deloitte Access Economics to estimate the financial and loss of wellbeing costs of epilepsy to the Australian economy.
Even though epilepsy is one of the most common brain disorders across the world, there is still a lot of misunderstanding about what epilepsy is, what it is like to live with it and the substantial economic costs it imposes on individuals and society. Epilepsy Australia engaged Deloitte Access Economics to estimate the financial and loss of wellbeing costs of Epilepsy to the Australian economy. The report, launched on International Epilepsy Day on the 10th of February aims to create awareness around this cost burden on people with epilepsy, government and the broader community in Australia.
Epilepsy is a serious neurologic condition that carries with it stigma, psychiatric comorbidities and high economic costs. It is the second most burdensome neurological condition, after dementia.
In 2019-20, there will be more than 142,000 people living with active epilepsy in Australia, resulting in an estimated economic cost of $12.3 billion. A further 14,600 people who will be newly diagnosed in 2019-20 and the economic costs over their lifetime could amount to an estimated $22.2 billion.
The costs considered included health system costs, productivity losses, informal caring, equipment, transportation, government expenditure and lost wellbeing.
Epilepsy is estimated to impose a similar burden on Australia’s health system as prostate cancer and lung cancer while the loss of wellbeing is comparable to that of Parkinson’s disease.
For those who live with epilepsy, the condition can be debilitating and have serious adverse effects on their personal life, ability to maintain employment, and quality of sleep. Epilepsy is also associated with several comorbidities such as depression and anxiety, fractures and neurodevelopmental disorders, which can worsen the burden on people living with the condition, their families and friends and those who provide care to them. Epilepsy doesn’t discriminate, being prevalent across gender, age and location.