To determine healthcare resource utilization and the economic burden associated with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in Thailand
This study included patients diagnosed with wet AMD that were 60 years old or older, and had best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) measured at least two times during the follow-up period. We excluded patients having other eye diseases. Two separate sub-studies were conducted. The first sub-study was a retrospective cohort study; electronic medical charts were reviewed to estimate the direct medical costs. The second sub-study was a cross-sectional survey estimating the direct non-medical costs based on face-to-face interviews using a structured questionnaire. For the first sub-study, direct medical costs, including the cost of drugs, laboratory, procedures, and other treatments were obtained. For the second sub-study, direct non-medical costs, e.g. transportation, food, accessories, home renovation, and caregiver costs, were obtained from face-to-face interviews with patients and/or caregivers.
For the first sub-study, sixty-four medical records were reviewed. The annual average number of medical visits was 11.1±6.0. The average direct medical costs were $3 604±4 530 per year. No statistically-significant differences of the average direct medical costs among the BCVA groups were detected (P=0.98). Drug costs accounted for 77% of total direct medical costs. For direct non-medical costs, 67 patients were included. Forty-eight patients (71.6%) required the accompaniment of a person during the out-patient visit. Seventeen patients (25.4%) required a caregiver at home. The average direct non-medical cost was $2 927±6 560 per year. There were no statistically-significant differences in the average costs among the BCVA groups (P=0.74). Care-giver cost accounted for 87% of direct non-medical costs.
Our study indicates that wet AMD is associated with a substantial economic burden, especially concerning drug and care-giver costs.