J Occup Med Toxicol 2016 24;11:52. Epub 2016 Nov 24.
University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE), Center of Excellence for Health Services Research in Nursing (CVcare), Hamburg, Germany ; Institution for Statutory Accident Insurance and Prevention in the Health and Welfare Services (BGW), Department of Prevention and Rehabilitation Principles (GPR), Hamburg, Germany.
Background: Hepatitis C infection is a global public health issue. Chronic hepatitis C infection is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. The aim of this study is to describe the costs for occupationally-cased hepatitis C infections based on data from an accident insurance carrier.
Methods: This study is a secondary analysis based on the Database of a German Institution for Statutory Accident Insurance. The analysis is based on a sample of insured parties whose hepatitis C infections were recorded as occupational diseases between 1996 and 2013. The analysis is based on recognised hepatitis C cases and incorporates records registered between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2014.
Results: Within the study period, the number of reported and recognised hepatitis C cases declined by 73 and 86% respectively. The majority of recognised hepatitis C cases ( = 1.121) were female, older than 40 years and were active in a medical nursing profession. In the study period, the costs came to a total of € 87.9 million, of which 60% was attributable to pension payments (€ 51,570,830) and around 15% was attributable to pharmaceutical and medicinal products (€ 12,978,318). Expenses for drugs exhibited heavy increases in 2012 (from around € 500,000-800,000 to € 1.7 million) and 2014 (to € 2.5 million) in particular. Pension payments came to € 1.6 million in 2000 and rose continuously to over € 4 million in 2014. Expenses for occupational rehabilitation accounted for less than 1%.
Conclusions: For hepatitis C infections as an occupational disease, a considerable increase in costs has been observed in recent years, while the number of reports has declined heavily. This rise in costs is explained by the increase in pension payments and, since 2012, by a rise in the costs for drugs. The high costs of anti-viral therapies is offset by the potential for considerable treatment benefits. Healing the infection is expected to generate long-term cost savings for statutory accident insurance carriers, and also for social security systems.