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Briefing paper

The costs of epilepsy in Australia: a productivity based analysis

Epilepsy Burden of disease Health economics Labour force productivity Productivity Australia


  • Epilepsy exerts a considerable economic and societal burden in Australia.
  • We built a life-table model using 2017 Australian epilepsy-related data from multiple sources (please see references).
  • We found that compared to those without epilepsy, those with epilepsy aged 15-69 years, followed until age 70, were predicted to have over 14,000 excess deaths, A$4.1billion (US$2.8 billion) excess direct healthcare costs, 78,000 years of life lost, and to experience a substantial impact on work productivity.
  • All these costs combined to an equivalent GDP loss of more than A$32.4 billion (US$22 billion). Further, this substantial burden rested mainly on younger people.
  • Promisingly, improving seizure freedom by 10% would result in A$1.1 billion (US$729 million) in reduced healthcare costs, prevent 1,633 epilepsy-related deaths, and equate to A$7.8 billion (US$5.3 billion) retained due to improvements in work productivity.

These findings once again highlight the substantial impact of epilepsy, but optimistically, also show that small improvements to seizure freedom that may greatly improve this burden.

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