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Economic burden of osteoporotic fractures in Austria

Hans Peter Dimai1*, Kurt Redlich2, Monika Peretz3, Fredrik Borgström45, Uwe Siebert6 and Jörg Mahlich7

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Medical University of Graz, Graz, Austria

2 Department of Internal Medicine III, Division of Rheumatology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

3 Association for the Promotion of Continuing Medical Education and Research, Vienna, Austria

4 I3 Innovus, Stockholm, Sweden

5 Medical Management Centre, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden

6 Department for Public Health and Health Technology Assessment, UMIT–University for Health Sciences. Medical Informatics and Technology, Hall i.T, Austria

7 Department of Economics, Faculty of Business, Economics and Statistics, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

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Health Economics Review 2012, 2:12  doi:10.1186/2191-1991-2-12

Published: 27 June 2012



Osteoporotic fractures impose a huge economic burden on society. Though several cost of illness studies from other countries exist, no equivalent study has been conducted in Austria. Our study aims at assessing costs resulting from osteoporotic fractures in Austria in the year 2008 from a societal perspective.


We took both direct and indirect costs into consideration. Direct costs encompass medical costs such as expenses for pharmaceuticals, inpatient and outpatient medical care costs, as well as other medical services (e.g., occupational therapies). Non-medical direct costs include transportation costs and medical devices (e.g., wheel chairs or crutches). Indirect costs refer to costs of productivity losses due to absence of work. Moreover, we included costs for early retirement and opportunity costs of informal care provided by family members. For our analysis, we combined data of official statistics, expert estimates as well as unique patient surveys that are currently conducted in the course of an international osteoporotic fracture study in Austria.


For the year 2008, the total annual financial burden incurred by osteoporotic fractures in Austria amounted to approx. €685.2 million, the largest fraction of which was due to the opportunity cost of family care (30.2%), followed by costs for hospitalization (26.6%).


The financial burden of osteoporotic fractures in Austria is substantial. Our findings may have implications for future economic analyses, and also support health care authorities in their decision making.

Burden of illness; Costs of illness; Osteoporosis; Austria