June 15, 2011
Economic burden of fractures in Europe far higher
than previously estimated; fractures result in more costs and
disability than many other common chronic
A new report launched today by the International Osteoporosis
Foundation (IOF) in collaboration with the European Federation of
Pharmaceutical Industry Associations (EFPIA) reveals that the
burden of fractures in Europe has been vastly underestimated. The
report concludes that in Europe’s five largest countries and
Sweden alone, an estimated 2.5 million new fragility fractures
occurred in 2010 – the equivalent of 280 fractures per hour.
It also showed an astounding eighty deaths per day attributable to
‘Osteoporosis: Burden, health care provision and
opportunities in the European Union’ examines both
epidemiological and health economic aspects of osteoporosis and
osteoporotic fractures in Europe, and specifically in France,
Germany, Italy, Spain, UK as well as Sweden.
It is estimated that one in three women and one in five men over
the age of fifty worldwide will sustain an osteoporotic fracture,
often resulting in substantial pain and suffering, disability, and
even death. As a result, osteoporosis imposes a significant burden
on both the individual and society. IOF President John Kanis
stated, “This landmark report exposes a number of major
issues and challenges related to health care provision for
fragility fractures. What is particularly striking is how the
economic burden of fractures has increased in just over a decade.
In 2000 the economic burden of fractures for the then European
Union was estimated at € 36 billion. The current estimate of
€ 30.7 billion for just six countries largely reflects the
increased number of fractures due to Europe’s ageing
Several of the key findings regarding the economic and health cost
of fragility fractures for the six countries studied include:
• For the year 2010 approximately 2.5 million new fractures
occurred in the six countries, with approximately 34,000 deaths
caused by fractures – 49% following hip fractures
• The total health burden of osteoporotic fractures, measured
in quality-adjusted life years (QALY) lost, was estimated at
approximately 850,000 QALYs.
• The health care cost, including pharmacological prevention,
was estimated at Euro 30.7 billion – corresponding to 3.5% of
the total spending on health care in those countries.
• A majority of the total costs was for the acute management
of fracture whilst pharmacological prevention and treatment only
represented 4.7% of total costs .
• Despite the existence of management guidelines, a minority
of patients receive medical treatment to prevent fractures.
• In 2025 the projected number of fractures will increase by
29% reaching 3.2 million fractures, with health care costs
increasing to Euro 38.5 billion.
• Improved implementation of clinical guidelines to close this
‘treatment gap’ is cost-effective and could save almost
700,000 fractures by 2025.
• The economic burden of osteoporotic fractures in these
countries exceeds those for migraine, stroke, MS, and
Parkinson’s disease, and is similar to the burden of
In six clearly defined chapters, it provides an introduction to
osteoporosis and then reviews medical innovation and clinical
progress in the management of osteoporosis, the epidemiology and
burden of the disease, the current uptake of osteoporosis
treatments and the future burden of fractures as a consequence of
increasing treatment uptake.
EFPIA Director General Richard Bergström commented, “ In
Europe the number of elderly is set to increase markedly, with
individuals expected to enjoy a longer life expectancy than ever
before. We also know that the incidence of fractures rises
progressively with age, and as a result we can expect the economic
and social impact of fractures to increase significantly unless
action is taken. Fortunately, we have a host of effective
diagnostic and treatment options at our disposal – it is time
to implement these advances fully. “
Osteoporosis: Burden, health care provision and
opportunities in the European Union
Archives of Osteoporosis (2011). O. Ström, F. Borgström,
J.A. Kanis,J. Compston, C. Cooper, E. V. McCloskey & B.
Jönsson. DOI 10.1007/s11657-011-0060-1
The International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) is a non-profit,
nongovernmental umbrella organization dedicated to the worldwide
fight against osteoporosis, the disease known as “the silent
epidemic”. IOF’s members – committees of
scientific researchers, patient, medical and research societies and
industry representatives from around the world – share a
common vision of a world without osteoporotic fractures. IOF now
represents 196 societies in 92 locations.
EFPIA represents the pharmaceutical industry operating in Europe.
Through its direct membership of 31 national associations and 40
leading pharmaceutical companies, EFPIA provides the voice of 2,200
companies committed to researching, developing and bringing new
medicines to improve health and quality of life around the world.