Cost of skin disease

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted April 25, 2005

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Skin diseases are far more prevalent than once thought and cost Americans an estimated $37.17 billion annually, according to a study released this month by the American Academy of Dermatology and the Society for Investigative Dermatology.

According to their data, at any given time, one in three people in the United States has a skin condition.

Overall, skin disease is on the rise. It is one of the top 15 groups of medical conditions for which prevalence and health care spending grew the most between 1987 and 2000.

In this study, researchers quantified the 21 most common skin diseases that take the greatest toll and calculated the direct costs of these illnesses in the United States to be more than $26.54 billion, including physician and emergency department visits, prescription and over-the-counter medicines, inpatient hospital care and ambulatory care. Indirect costs totaled $10.2 billion, including missed workdays, lost productivity at work, restricted-activity workdays and lost wages due to premature death.

The two groups, along with other health and patient advocacy organizations, plan to use these findings to advocate for increased federal investments in skin disease research.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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