Lutein/zeaxanthin supplementation could save billions in AMD-related healthcare costs

Published: 13-Oct-2017

Costs associated with age-related macular degeneration could be avoided through more widespread lutein and zeaxanthin supplementation, says Frost & Sullivan

A new study produced by Frost & Sullivan has found that savings of €6.20 billion ($7.33 billion) a year could be generated through the daily consumption of 10 mg of lutein and 2 mg of zeaxanthin by millions of adults aged 50 and older in the EU with age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

AMD is a progressive degenerative eye disease and a major cause of vision loss among older Europeans.

AMD, which inhibits the ability to see objects directly ahead, can cause irreversible and progressive decline in an individual’s independence and ability to perform daily activities.

Across the EU, 17.1 million people are living with AMD, of which 2.5 million cases are the more costly severe/late stage AMD.

Frost & Sullivan’s Visionary Science team has calculated the economic burden of addressing cases of AMD among this population and discovered that the total cost of managing the consequences of severe/late stage AMD in the EU is expected to be € 89.46 billion per year.

This cost includes the direct costs of treating and managing AMD and the indirect costs related to long-term care. This translates to an annual cost of a transition from mild to severe AMD of €34,805 per transition in the EU.

Christopher J. Shanahan, Global Director at Frost & Sullivan, said: “Following an analysis of the available science, Frost & Sullivan’s research team concluded that consumption of 10 mg of lutein and 2 mg of zeaxanthin a day by EU adults aged 50 and older with mild AMD would cut their risk of experiencing a transition to the more severe and costly late stage AMD by 7.0%."

"In turn, this would result in net cost savings of €4.97 billion ($5.87 billion) a year and highly positive benefit/cost ratios for each of the EU member states.”

Prof. Jean-François Korobelnik, Head of the Ophthalmology Department, University Hospital of Bordeaux, added: “In a perfect world, if adults aged 50 or older with no age-related macular degeneration or with [mild/intermediate] AMD were to increase their daily lutein and zeaxanthin intake, the prevalence and progression of AMD would reduce, based on the overarching body of scientific evidence."

"Further, as approved therapies are only available for the severe form of the disease, significant cost savings would result from the reduction of the incidence of advanced [severe] AMD."

It is the fourth study in the space of 2 years that highlights the potential that exists for generating healthcare cost savings in relation to increased use of food supplements among target populations in the EU.

This series of in-depth and rigorous healthcare cost savings reports produced by Frost & Sullivan underscores an important opportunity to enhance the health and well-being of millions of EU citizens, while also making significant cost savings that could ease the enormous financial pressure on healthcare systems.

“Principally, it is increasingly difficult to ignore the fact that supplementation can play a critical role in the future of how healthcare in the EU is funded, resourced, and delivered,” Shanahan stated.

In 2016, Frost & Sullivan reported that €13 billion a year in healthcare cost savings could be generated through daily consumption of 1000 mg of omega-3 EPA/DHA food supplements.

In February 2017, Frost & Sullivan explored the cost saving benefits of calcium and vitamin D supplementation in the context of avoiding bone fractures among the 27.8 million people in the EU living with osteoporosis.

It was found that savings of €3.96 billion a year were achievable. Also in May 2017, it was found that €5.3 billion in healthcare costs could be saved through the daily use of 1.7 g of phytosterols among those with severe hypercholesterolemia in the EU.

The findings from the most current study are from a new Frost & Sullivan deliverable on the Economic Benefits of Using Lutein and Zeaxanthin Food Supplements in the European Union.

For more information and to register for a webinar, which will provide expert insights from senior thought leaders representing Frost & Sullivan, Kemin, BASF, DSM, University Hospital of Bordeaux and the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG), please click here.

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