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Economic Burden of Illness for Employees with Painful Conditions

White, Alan G. PhD; Birnbaum, Howard G. PhD; Mareva, Milena N. BA; Henckler, Aaron E. BA; Grossman, Patricia PharmD; Mallett, David A.

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: September 2005 - Volume 47 - Issue 9 - p 884-892
doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000172867.29041.eb
Original Articles

Objective: We sought to compare the medical services utilization and average annual direct (ie, medical and medication) and indirect (ie, work-loss) costs for employees with painful conditions to a random sample (“average employee”).

Methods: An employer administrative claims database (approximately 600,000 insured lives) was used to identify patients with ICD-9 codes for painful conditions. Direct costs were total employer medical and medication costs and indirect costs were associated with medically related absenteeism days and disability claims.

Results: Among employees with painful conditions, total costs were 1.5 to 3.5 times as high (P < 0.01) as those of the average employee (ie, $7088 to $16,874 compared with $4,849) depending on the painful condition.

Conclusions: Painful conditions are costly to employers, and better management/treatment of such conditions may help reduce the associated employer economic burden.

From the Analysis Group, Inc., Boston, Massachusetts (Drs White, Birnbaum, Ms Mareva, Mr Henckler); Purdue Pharma, L.P., Stamford, Connecticut (Dr Grossman); and Ingenix, New Haven, Connecticut (Mr Mallett).

Supported by Purdue Pharma, L.P.

Alan White works as a consultant for the Analysis Group.

Address correspondence to: Alan G. White, PhD, 111 Huntington Avenue, 10th Floor, Boston, MA 02199; E-mail:

©2005The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine