Objectives: Estimate the productivity-related cost of depression in an employed population.
Methods: By using administrative data, annual short-term disability (STD) and absenteeism costs ($2005) were compared for patients with depression and treated with antidepressants and for a matched control group without depression.
Results: Mean annual STD costs were $1038 among treated depressed patients versus $325 among controls and $1685 among a subgroup of severely depressed treated patients versus $340 among their controls. After controlling for demographic and employment characteristics, treated patients with depression had STD costs that were $356 higher per patient and those with severe depression had costs that were $861 higher. The marginal impact of treated depression on absenteeism was $377.
Conclusions: Even when depressed patients are treated with antidepressants, there are substantial productivity losses. Therapies that can better manage depression may provide opportunities for savings to employers.