The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF), with Parkinson’s Foundation, AbbVie Inc., ACADIA Pharmaceuticals, Acorda Therapeutics, Adamas Pharmaceuticals, and Biogen Inc., along with American Parkinson Disease Association and The Parkinson Alliance commissioned a new study — The Economic Burden of Parkinson’s Disease — to estimate the economic burden of Parkinson’s in the United States. This study provides the most comprehensive assessment of the total economic burden on patients, care partners, payers, employers, healthcare systems and government programs.

The total cost of Parkinson’s is $52 billion every year, with $25.4 billion attributable to direct medical costs such as hospitalizations and medication, and $26.5 billion in non-medical costs like missed work, lost wages, early forced retirement and family caregiver time. This is nearly double previous estimates and, for the first time, accounts for the many ways Parkinson’s affects a person’s finances and their ability to participate in the labor market.

“Beyond the rising costs of medications and healthcare, disease progression has led to some role reversals at home, and the need to secure outside services,” said Steve DeWitte, a Parkinson’s research funding advocate from New Preston, Connecticut. “The eventual decision to leave the workforce often requires a family meeting,” he added.  “Family relations are strained and insecurities rise as the family adjusts to the latest symptoms and increased expenses against a fixed and shrinking income.  And, not knowing what symptoms may come next makes it even harder to plan financially for the future.”

The study showed the government spends nearly $25 billion each year in caring for people with Parkinson’s. About $2 billion of that is shouldered by Social Security, and the remaining $23 billion is in Medicare costs since nearly 90 percent of people with PD are on Medicare.

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