The Healthcare and Financial Impacts of IBD on the Wider Community

IBD has an increasingly serious impact on healthcare and financial resources in both developed and developing countries worldwide.

The numbers of individuals affected by inflammatory bowel diseases are particularly high in Europe. Molodecky and colleagues recently published their review of trends in prevalence of IBD across the world from the 1930's to the present ( Molodecky, N.A. et al (2012) 'Increasing incidence and prevalence of the inflammatory bowel diseases with time, based on systematic review' Gasteroenterology 142:46-54. They found that:

"The highest annual incidence of ulcerative colitis (UC) was 24.3 per 100,000 person-years in Europe, 6.3 per 100,000 person-years in Asia and the Middle East, and 19.2 per 100,000 person-years in North America. The highest annual incidence of Crohn's Disease (CD) was 12.7 per 100,000 person-years in Europe, 5.0 person-years in Asia and the Middle East, and 20.2 per 100,000 person-years in North America. The highest reported prevalence values for IBD were in Europe (UC, 505 per 100,000 persons; CD, 322 per 100,000 persons) and North America (UC, 249 per 100,000 persons; CD, 319 per 100,000 persons). In time-trend analyses, 75% of CD studies and 60% of UC studies had an increasing incidence of statistical significance (P < .05)."

Currently in Europe, there are an estimated 2.5 million people suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases. This places a very significant burden on the already strained healthcare and financial systems.

The situation for IBD in North America is serious too. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) : "IBD is one of the five most prevalent gastrointestinal disease burdens in the United States, with an overall health care cost of more than $1.7 billion. This chronic condition is without a medical cure and commonly requires a lifetime of care. Each year in the United States, IBD accounts for more than 700,000 physician visits, 100,000 hospitalizations, and disability in 119,000 patients. Over the long term, up to 75% of patients with Crohn’s disease and 25% of those with ulcerative colitis will require surgery "