NPF Statement on the Economic Burden of Parkinson's Disease

Release date: 2/21/2013

Parkinson’s Action Network (PAN) issued a press release today on behalf of the U.S. Parkinson’s organizations, including the National Parkinson Foundation (NPF). This is an important study because it sheds light on the true economic burden of Parkinson’s disease. Read the key findings below.

Statement from NPF about the study:

“Things we could improve today are major cost drivers for Parkinson’s.  We pay over a billion dollars for services that could be avoided with better care.  For example, nursing home care totals over $5 billion, and neurologist care can reduce this by 20% or more. We could fund our entire research agenda and more from the savings we could gain by just getting patients great care,” said Peter Schmidt, Ph.D., Vice President, Programs. “We’ve shown in NPF’s Parkinson’s Outcomes Project, that many complications can be avoided just through better, more expert care.”


Read the Parkinson's Action Network's press release:

$14.4 Billion Economic Burden of Parkinson's Disease Takes Toll on Families

- $8.1 billion in medical expenses and $6.3 billion in indirect costs attributed to Parkinson’s disease -

- Two new studies published in Movement Disorders detail economic burden and financial implications of slowing disease progression - 

This statement is prepared on behalf of the American Parkinson Disease Association, the Davis Phinney Foundation for Parkinson’s, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, the National Parkinson Foundation, the Parkinson Alliance, the Parkinson’s Action Network, and the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.  Together, these organizations represent the Parkinson’s disease community in the United States.

Parkinson's disease is a chronic, progressive neurological disease for which there is no treatment or therapy to slow or stop the progression of the disease.  Medications and devices address only the symptoms.  Parkinson’s is the second most common neurological condition after Alzheimer’s disease.

The two studies addressed in this statement are:  "The Current and Projected Economic Burden of Parkinson's Disease in the United States" and "An Economic Model of Parkinson’s Disease:  Implications for Slowing Progression in the United States," both of which were recently published in the journal Movement Disorders and show huge economic burden on families living with Parkinson’s disease.

Key Findings:

  • The economic burden of Parkinson's disease is at least $14.4 billion a year in the United States, and the prevalence of Parkinson's will more than double by the year 2040.  ["The Current and Projected Economic Burden of Parkinson's Disease in the United States"]
  • Those with Parkinson's disease incurred Parkinson's-related medical expenses of $22,800 per patient -- $12,800 higher than someone without Parkinson's.  Approximately 57% of excess medical cost is associated with higher use of nursing home services.  ["The Current and Projected Economic Burden of Parkinson's Disease in the United States"]
  • The study also calculates an additional $6.3 billion in indirect costs such as missed work or loss of a job for the patient or family member who is helping with care, long-distance travel to see a neurologist or movement disorder specialist, as well as costs for home modifications, adult day care, and personal care aides. ["The Current and Projected Economic Burden of Parkinson's Disease in the United States"]
  • Among the population evaluated, one would expect 8,000 residents of nursing homes.  The estimated number in nursing homes is more than 103,000, representing $5 billion in excess costs attributed to Parkinson's disease.  ["The Current and Projected Economic Burden of Parkinson's Disease in the United States"]
  • The Parkinson’s population incurred approximately 1.9 million hospital inpatient days in 2010, 73% more than would be expected for a similar population without Parkinson’s disease.  Excess health-care use attributed to Parkinson's disease in 2010 includes 1.26 million physician office visits, 57,000 outpatient visits, 31,000 emergency visits, 24,000 home health days, and 26,000 hospice days. ["The Current and Projected Economic Burden of Parkinson's Disease in the United States"]
  • If Parkinson's progression were slowed by 50%, there would be a 35% reduction in excess costs, representing a dramatic reduction in cost of care spread over a longer expected survival.  ["An Economic Model of Parkinson's Disease:  Implications for Slowing Progression in the United States"]

The following statement may be attributed to Amy Comstock Rick, CEO, Parkinson’s Action Network:

"Both studies highlight the enormous economic implications of this devastating disease, and make it abundantly clear that increased research funding is a wise investment on the front end to help significantly lower or eliminate costs on the back end.  National Institutes of Health (NIH) Parkinson’s disease research funding for FY 2011 was just $151 million – that’s only 1.05% of $14.4 billion, and is clearly an investment that needs to grow.

"Because nearly half (48%) of medical expenses evaluated in 'The Current and Projected Economic Burden of Parkinson's Disease in the United States' are Medicare- and Medicaid-related, smart investment in medical research could significantly lower reliance on Medicare and Medicaid as a safety net for people with Parkinson's.  Even slowing the progression of Parkinson's is shown in one of the studies to have potentially a significant impact on families living with this devastating disease.

"By investing in biomedical research both at the federal level and in the private sector, and creating results-driven public-private partnerships, the scientific community can develop more innovative therapies toward better treatments and, one day, a cure for Parkinson's.  In addition to research funding and strategic incentives to promote collaboration and knowledge sharing among academic and industry research groups, we need strong federal, state, and local policies and programs in place that improve the quality of life for people living with Parkinson's and the impact the disease has on their families.

"The authors of ‘The Current and Projected Economic Burden of Parkinson's Disease in the United States' acknowledge their findings are conservative estimates due to limits in available data, and we agree that, in reality, the prevalence and economic burden numbers are even higher and will grow exponentially over the next few decades.  The silver tsunami of aging baby boomers will bring not just a dramatic increase in Parkinson's diagnoses, but also significantly higher cost burdens to families that are already stretched too thin.

"Funding for Parkinson’s disease and all biomedical research must be considered a priority in ongoing federal budget discussions, and cannot be cut in any way, shape, or form."