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Korean J Hepatol. 2011 Dec;17(4):274-291. English. Original Article.
Lee S , Chung W , Hyun KR .
Health Insurance Policy Research Institute, National Health Insurance Corporation, Seoul, Korea.
Graduate School of Public Health, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea.

BACKGROUND/AIMS: This study analyzed the scale and trends of the social and economic costs of liver disease in Korea for the past 5 years. METHODS: The social aspects of socioeconomic costs were projected for viral hepatitis (B15-B19), liver cirrhosis, malignant neoplasm of the liver (C22) and other liver diseases (K70-K76), as representative diseases by dividing costs into direct and indirect from 2004 to 2008. Direct costs include hospitalization, outpatient, and pharmacy costs in the health-care sector, and transportation and caregiver costs. Indirect costs include the future income loss due to premature death and the loss of productivity resulting from absence from work. RESULTS: The social and economic costs of liver disease were projected to be KRW 5,858 billion in 2004, KRW 5,572 billion in 2005, KRW 8,104 billion in 2006, KRW 6,095 billion in 2007, and KRW 5,689 billion in 2008. The future income loss resulting from premature death is thus greatest, from 73.9% to 86.1%, followed by the direct medical costs, from 9.0% to 18.1%. The productivity loss resulting from absence from work accounts for 3.3-5.5%, followed by the direct nonmedical costs such as transportation and caregiver costs, at 1.5-2.5%. CONCLUSIONS: Among the socioeconomic costs of liver disease in Korea, the future income loss resulting from premature death is showing a decreasing trend, whereas direct medical costs are increasing dramatically.

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