26/10/22

CRN report concludes: Use of probiotics by IBS patients yields notable cost savings

The researchers applied a cost-benefit analysis comparing disease-attributed risk and implied associated costs among dietary supplement users versus non-users. To this end, they gathered data from clinical trials and meta-analyses with dietary supplements showing significant risk reduction for a specific chronic condition. Cost savings were determined by using data including target population size, risk reduction of population, and the number of events possibly avoided (e.g. hospitalization, treatment ) by the supplement use.

Largest risk reduction for IBS

The report contains calculations not only for IBS but also for other chronic conditions including osteoporosis, macular degeneration and cardiovascular disease. The largest reduction in risk of having a medical event was attributed to the taking of probiotics for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS. IBS causes significant abdominal pain to patients and can severely impact their quality of life. Due to changes in bowel movement frequency and stool form, IBS leads to higher-than-expected absenteeism from work or school, which in turn impacts productivity. It also burdens patients with significant medical costs.

Probiotics are very cost effective

An important outcome of the analysis is that the use of probiotic supplements can lead to 34.7% of patients experiencing improvements in IBS symptoms and becoming fully able to return to school or work. The use of probiotic supplements for IBS can prevent 406 million hours of missed work in the US in 2022, translating into $11.1 billion of net savings per year, in that country alone. The researchers calculated that one dollar spent on probiotic supplements for IBS patients saves $6.18. Savings on medical and pharma costs for patients suffering from IBS episodes were not included in this calculation.

CRN calls for a shift towards preventative health care

In conclusion, these findings support the proposition that use of probiotic supplements can help lower a person’s odds of experiencing a severe IBS episode, which in turn can have positive knock-on effects on the costs of labour productivity.
According to the report, important savings could also be accomplished by using dietary supplements in coronary artery disease, osteoporotic fractures, and macular degeneration. The trade association calls for healthcare policy makers to shift towards preventative health care. This can be of interest to patients as well as healthcare professionals, governments, insurance companies, and employers.

Source: Frost & Sullivan, Supplements to Savings, Health Care Cost Savings from the Targeted Use of Dietary Supplements 2022–2030, CRN Foundation

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