Press Release: Economic burden of blood disorders in EU is €23 billion

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The economic burden of blood disorders across the European Union, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland amounts to €23 billion per year. This is the conclusion of two papers published in The Lancet Haematology by the Health Economics Research Centre of the University of Oxford.

 Blood disorders represent a myriad of diseases including anemias, coagulation disorders (e.g. thrombosis), bleeding disorders (e.g. hemophilia) and blood cancers (e.g. leukemia, multiple myeloma, lymphoma). In Europe, blood disorders affect around 80 million people.

The total cost of blood disorders consists of healthcare expenditure (€15.6 billion), productivity loss due to illness and mortality (€5.6 billion), and the costs of informal care (€1.6 billion). The latter amount is based on hours of unpaid care provided to people suffering from blood disorders, such as by family or friends. 28% of healthcare costs pertain to medications (€4.3 billion).

The expectation is that the economic burden of blood disorders will rise in the coming years due to a combination of an aging population and higher prices for new drug treatments. To counteract this trend, a more advanced understanding of blood disorders is dearly needed together with more effective treatment plans and improved diagnostics.

Both studies were funded by the European Hematology Association (EHA). EHA had no role in study design, data collection, data analysis, and data interpretation. The results will help policy makers in their decision-making with regard to future healthcare research budgets. This long awaited analysis stresses the need for additional funding of fundamental, translational and clinical research in all aspects of hematology.



1. Burns R, Luengo-Fernandez R, Sullivan R, Leal J. Economic burden of malignant blood disorders across Europe: a population-based cost analysis.Lancet Haematol 2016    

2. Luengo-Fernandez R, Burns R, Leal J. Economic burden of non-malignant blood disorders across Europe: a population-based cost analysis. Lancet Haematol 2016

3. Green T, Bron D, Chomienne C, Duyvené de Wit T, de Haas F, Engert A, Hagenbeek A, Jäger U, MacIntyre E, Muckenthaler M, Smand C, Sonneveld P. Costs of haematological disease high and rising. Lancet Haematol 2016




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About hematology (in Europe) 

Hematology, the medical discipline concerned with blood and blood-forming organs, is a multi-faceted, extensive and thriving field of study. Researchers in hematology work to expand our understanding of the mechanisms that underlie the creation and functioning of blood and its components and, critically, of when these mechanisms falter or fail. Clinicians in hematology treat patients with myriad of diseases including anemia, coagulation disorders, bleeding disorders and blood cancers such as leukemia, multiple myeloma and lymphomas. Targeted therapy, the concept of cancer stem cells, the structure of hemoglobin, multi-agent chemotherapy, monoclonal antibodies, and cord blood stem cell transplantation, are all examples of discoveries or applications in hematologic research that have fundamentally improved our understanding of biology and resulted in the development of innovative treatment approaches; not just in hematology, but in oncology, rheumatology, cardiology, immunology, etc. In many cases, European researchers and scientists were at the forefront of these breakthrough discoveries. Despite the enormous progress that has been made over the past decades, some 80 million people still suffer from one or more blood disorders in the European Union at any given time. Regrettably, about a hundred and fifteen thousand of them die each year. Notwithstanding the enormous physical and psychological/emotional burden on the affected and their loved ones, the economic consequences are substantial indeed: the societal cost of blood disorders in the EU28, Norway, Iceland and Switzerland is estimated to amount to some 23 Billion Euros a year.


About the European Hematology Association (EHA) 

The European Hematology Association (EHA) is the leading European society for hematology–the medical specialty dealing with blood. EHA promotes excellence in patient care, research and education in hematology and represent the interests of the discipline, its clinicians and its scientists. EHA’s Annual Congress attracts some 10,000 attendees and its journal, Haematologica, is the primary general hematology journal in Europe. EHA seeks to influence policies to increase research funding opportunities, to improve research regulations, to optimize access to medicines, and to harmonize and improve education and training.

Last Updated on Thursday 30 January 2020.