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Schizophrenia is costing Japanese economy £15 billion a year

Japan-mainSchizophrenia is costing the Japanese economy more than £15 billion a year in health care, unemployment and suicides, according to new research published this month.

Researchers from Tokyo and the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) say Japan’s ageing population and the high cost of treating schizophrenia patients is imposing “a tremendous societal burden” on the world’s third-largest economy.

As an illness, schizophrenia is often overshadowed by depression and anxiety-related disorders, which are far more prevalent in Japan but actually have lower direct costs, according to a new paper recently published in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment.

Schizophrenia is recognised as the most expensive psychiatric disorder in the world in terms of health care expenditure per patient.

The number of psychiatric beds per capita in Japan is also approximately four times greater than that in the UK, according to the paper.

The direct costs of schizophrenia in Japan are estimated to be £4.3 billion, which includes health care and medication costs.

Of the indirect costs totalling £11 billion – which include unemployment and suicide – schizophrenia costs Japan less than the other two mental illnesses (depression and anxiety disorders), but the overall costs arising from unemployment are much higher.

“With schizophrenia, the costs imposed by unemployment constitute the largest component, whereas for depression and anxiety disorders, absenteeism and loss of productivity are more significant indirect costs,” says Professor Martin Knapp from LSE.

The ratio of all suicides attributed to schizophrenia in Japan is estimated at 9 per cent, equivalent to a cost of about £873 million cost per year.

“Because 40-60 per cent of patients with schizophrenia suffer from the impairment all their lives, Japan’s ageing society is adding to the economic burden,” Professor Knapp says.

“The figures are conservative and the actual cost to Japan is likely to be much higher as a result of a lack of available data,” he said.

The full paper can be downloaded at http://www.dovepress.com/the-cost-of-schizophrenia-in-japan-peer-reviewed-article-NDT-recommendation1


For media enquiries contact:

Professor Martin Knapp, Department of Social Policy, LSE on +44 (0)20 7955 6225 or m.knapp@lse.ac.uk

Mitsuhiro Sado, Department of Neuropsychiatry, Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, +81 3 3353 1211 ext 62454 or mitsusado@z5.keio.jp

Candy Gibson, LSE Press Office, +44 (0)20 7849 4624, or c.gibson@lse.ac.uk


The authors involved in this paper are:

Mitsuhiro Sado, Akihiro Koreki, Lee Andrew Kissane, Masaru Mimura and Kimio Yoshimura from the Keio University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan;

Martin Knapp from the Department of Social Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science;

Ataru Inagaki from the Center for Clinical Psychopharmacology, Institute of Neuropsychiatry, Tokyo, Japan;

The Journal of Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment  is an international, peer-reviewed journal of clinical therapeutics and pharmacology focusing on concise rapid reporting of clinical or pre-clinical studies on a range of neuropsychiatric and neurological disorders.

23 July 2013