New Research Estimates MRSA Infections Cost U.S. Hospitals $3.2 Billion to $4.2 Billion Annually


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The annual nationwide cost to treat hospitalized patients with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections is estimated to be between $3.2 billion to $4.2 billion, according to a new analysis presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR). The high costs of treating infections caused by MRSA, a serious, multi-drug resistant-pathogen, are primarily driven by prolonged hospital stays, including time spent in intensive care units.(1)  Previous data showed that patients with MRSA infections may be in the hospital 10 days longer than patients with Staph infections not resistant to methicillin. 


“MRSA is acknowledged as a growing problem, but the associated medical costs are not well documented.  This research helps to quantify the significant economic burden of MRSA to U.S. hospitals," says Larry Liu, MD, PhD, lead investigator and director of U.S. Outcomes Research Group at Pfizer Inc.  "Strategies to minimize hospital costs related to MRSA infections need to be considered to help manage this burden."


MRSA infections are rising in hospitals and long-term care facilities and also have increasingly been found in the community.  MRSA infections are difficult to treat because they are resistant to several commonly used antibiotics, including penicillin containing antibiotics, and are associated with significant morbidity and mortality.  In intensive care units, physicians are now seeing infection rates of approximately 60 percent due to MRSA.  Each year, 90,000 patients die as a result of a hospital-acquired infection, including those caused by MRSA.


“In addition to the staggering financial burden of MRSA infections, we know that there are untold human costs,” said Mark Kunkel, MD, senior medical director at Pfizer Inc.  “To help minimize the growing MRSA epidemic and save lives, prevention and improved treatment of these infections need to be priorities.” 


Researchers conducted an extensive literature search to identify recent studies that estimated the direct medical costs associated with MRSA infections in U.S. hospitals.  The researchers found the direct medical cost to range from $27,083 to $34,900 per case.  The range of the annual cost of MRSA infections was determined by multiplying the estimated highest and lowest cost per case by the estimated number of annual hospital discharges due to MRSA infections.  Based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) figures that approximately 120,000 persons were hospitalized in 2000 with MRSA infections, researchers estimated the annual cost of MRSA infections to U.S. hospitals to be $3.2 billion to $4.2 billion.




This research was conducted by the U.S. Outcomes Research Group of Pfizer Inc and presented at the ISPOR meeting during poster session I (Abstract ID# 9489).


Source: Pfizer Inc.












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