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The New Zealand Medical Journal

 Journal of the New Zealand Medical Association, 18-June-2004, Vol 117 No 1196

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Economic cost of community-acquired pneumonia in New Zealand adults
Guy Scott, Helen Scott, Maria Turley, Michael Baker


The aim of this study was to evaluate the economic cost of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in New Zealand adults. Although this is an important illness, there is little published information on the national costs of treatment. Without such information, new treatment options cannot be evaluated in economic terms.

Costs were estimated from a societal perspective for the adult population (aged 15 years and over) using New Zealand age-specific hospital admission rates (average of 20002002), population data (2003), and unit costs (2003) in combination with international data on the proportion of pneumonia cases hospitalised. Univariate and multivariate sensitivity analyses were used to determine the major cost drivers and evaluate uncertainty in the estimates.

It was estimated that in 2003 there were 26,826 episodes of pneumonia in adults; a rate of 859 per 100,000 people. The annual cost was estimated to be $63 million, (direct medical costs of $29 million; direct non-medical costs of $1 million; lost productivity of $33 million).

The major generators of costs for community-acquired pneumonia are the number of hospitalisations (particularly for the group aged 65 years and over) and loss of productivity. Intensified prevention and effective community treatment programmes focussing on the 65 years and older age groups should be investigated (as they have the greatest potential to reduce healthcare costs).

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