Common Cold Coughs up $40 Billion Annual Cost

Cox.Net National News

Mar 07, 2003 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- COMMON COLD COUGHS UP $40 BILLION ANNUAL COST

A study shows the common cold costs Americans $40 billion annually, with nearly 400 million people missing work or school each year. The study by researchers from the University of Michigan Health System, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, notes the cost is more than that of asthma, heart failure and emphysema. "From a bottle of cough syrup to missed time at work and school, the price tag of catching a cold really adds up," said Dr. A. Mark Fendrick, lead study author and co-director of the Consortium for Health Outcomes, Innovation, Cost Effectiveness Studies. "Since there is no cure for the common cold, it does not receive a lot of attention when compared to less common conditions. We wanted to calculate the total economic impact that the cold has on our economy." The researchers called more than 4,000 U.S. households to find out the number of self-reported cases of the common cold. Nearly three-quarters of those responding reported suffering from a cold within the last year, with an average of 2.5 episodes. "We found that the common cold leads to more than 100 million physician visits annually at a conservative cost estimate of $7.7 billion per year," Fendrick said. "More than one-third of patients who saw a doctor received an antibiotic prescription. While these unnecessary costs are problematic, what is more concerning is how these treatment patterns contribute to the development of antibiotic resistance, a significant public health concern."