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First study of Australia's high cost of pain reveals $34 billion price tag
Date:11/18/2007

For the first time, a dollar value has been attached to the high cost of pain in Australia in an MBF Foundation funded study that reveals a massive annual cost of $34.3 billion -- nearly $11,000 for each of the estimated 3.2 million people grappling with pain. The price tag of pain includes both financial costs and loss of healthy life.

The MBF Foundation study The High Price of Pain: The Economic Impact of Persistent Pain in Australia, conducted by Access Economics in collaboration with the University of Sydney Pain Management Research Institute also found that the people who are suffering from persistent pain are carrying more than half of its overall cost burden. The Foundation has called for pain to be treated as a health priority with a co-ordinated national response.

Findings from the study will be used to identify the best ways to ease suffering, save healthcare dollars and help patients maintain productive lives.

Dr Christine Bennett, MBF chief medical officer and chair of the MBF Foundation Steering Committee, said that establishing the economic cost of pain to Australia was a very significant development for healthcare strategy.

The impact and cost of persistent pain is so widespread that a national approach is needed to address this major health issue and its hidden health burden, Dr Bennett said. This is vital because pain is involved across a number of existing National Health Priority Areas such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, musculoskeletal disease and diabetes.

The study shows that the bottom line of chronic pain is huge both in human terms and its economic impact. Australians suffering from persistent pain could benefit from approaches that can help them manage or minimise their pain to improve their lives and the health system.

The studys expert advisory panel led by pain management pioneer Professor Michael Cousins AM, Dr Fiona Blyth at Sydneys Pain Management Research Institute
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Contact: Jackie Crossman
61-293-610-519
Research Australia
Source:Eurekalert

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