"Disease focus" - Parkinson’s disease: a social and economic burden | UCB
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"Disease focus" - Parkinson’s disease: a social and economic burden

Posted by
Emmanuelle Senior, Global Market Access & Pricing - CNS
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic, progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects body movements leading to difficulty walking and talking1.
Due to the disabling and progressive nature of PD, the financial and social burden of the disease is considerable.

Common symptoms include tremors, stiffness, slowness of movement, gait and postural instability1. Non-motor symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, apathy, pain, sleep disorders, fatigue and erectile dysfunction, also affect patients’ quality of life1,2.

Research suggests that these non-motor symptoms of PD might have a greater impact on health-related quality of life than motor symptoms3.

The risk of developing Parkinson’s disease increases with age. The disease affects approximately 0.5% to 1%  of people aged between 65 to 69 , rising to 1% to 3% among persons 80 years of age and older.4

Not only does PD cause pain and distress, it deprives patients of the ability to live a full life and can force early retirement. As the patients become chronically disabled, their need for permanent support leads to a decrease in the caregivers’ quality of life5 and professional life, as well as their ability to manage the household and care for themselves.

The annual economic burden of PD on the healthcare system per patient in Europe ranges from €2,600 to €10,0006, with direct costs (such as hospitalisation and medication) accounting for around 70% of the total6. In the US, annual costs per patient to the healthcare system are estimated at $23,0007.

With increases in life expectancy, finding ways of controlling the costs associated with PD is a major societal challenge. It has been shown that costs increase as a patient’s condition become more severe, so slowing down PD progression is a major unmet need.


1. Jankovic J . Parkinson's disease: clinical features and diagnosis. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2008; 79: 368–376.

Chaudhuri KR. Non-motor symptoms of Parkinson's disease: dopaminergic pathophysiology and treatment. Lancet Neurol 2009;8:464-474.

3. Martinez-Martin P et al. The impact of non-motor symptoms on health-related quality of life of patients with Parkinson's disease. Movement Disorders 2011;26(3):399-406.

4. Nussbaum RL, Ellis CE. Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. N Engl J Med 2003;348:1356-1364.

5. Peters M, et al. Does self-reported well-being of patients with Parkinson’s disease influence caregiver strain and quality of life? Parkinsonism and Realted Disorders 2011; 17:348-352
6. von Campenhausen S et al. Costs of illness and care in Parkinson's disease: an evaluation in six countries. European Neuropsychopharmacoly 2011;21:180-191

7. Kowal SL et al. The current and projected economic burden of Parkinson’s disease in the United States. Movemement Disorders 2013;28(3):311-318


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