Costs of Alcohol-Associated Liver Disease Will Double by 2040

Gastroenterology & Endoscopy News | Gina Shaw

Rising rates of alcohol-associated liver disease will lead to major increases in costs to the healthcare system and society over the next two decades, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology (2024;119[2]:270-277).

The annual cost of ALD is projected to more than double between 2022 and 2040, increasing from $31 billion to $66 billion. Overall, ALD is expected to cost the United States approximately $880 billion—$355 billion in direct healthcare-related costs and $525 billion in lost labor and economic consumption—over that period.

The researchers also projected a dramatic rise in the burden of alcohol use disorder (AUD) among women. Although the female population made up 29% of these costs in 2022, by 2040, the costs of ALD among women would make 43% of the total annual expenditure.

“We were shocked,” said senior researcher Jagpreet Chhatwal, PhD, the director of Massachusetts General Hospital’s Institute for Technology Assessment and a faculty member in the Center for Health Decision Science at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in Boston. “We expected an increase in the costs of ALD, but not to this level. This is alarming and should inform action at both the clinical level and the policy level.”

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