Urologic diseases in U.S. run up $11 billion annual tab

May 19, 2007

Americans spend almost $11 billion annually in medical care related to urologic diseases, and Medicare's share of the bill was $5.4 billion, according to a 5-year project issued by the National Institutes of Health that is now available in print and on CD.

Americans spend almost $11 billion annually in medical care related to urologic diseases, and Medicare's share of the bill was $5.4 billion, according to a 5-year project issued by the National Institutes of Health that is now available in print and on CD.

Of the $11 billion, treatment for five diseases-urinary tract infections, kidney stones, prostate and bladder cancers, and BPH (in order of dollars spent)-totalled $9.1 billion annually.

"This research sharply illustrates the immense burden of urologic diseases and the importance of studies to preempt disease processes and develop targeted therapies," NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, MD said.

"Urologic Diseases in America" is a comprehensive analysis of epidemiologic demographics, treatment patterns, and costs for a range of urologic diseases in children and adults. Multidisciplinary teams from UCLA and RAND Health and NIH's National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases used data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the National Center for Health Statistics.

Among their findings:

  • Nearly 12.8 million UTIs cost $2.5 billion in medical costs in women and an additional $1 billion in men annually; another $9.6 million was spent on 3.3 million prescriptions annually. UTIs will occur in 50% of women in their lifetime.


  • 5% of adults will develop stone disease; men are two to three times more likely to develop them than are women. Medical care for stone disease costs $2.1 billion annually, and prescription costs range from $4 to $14 million.


  • Pediatric urinary problems, particularly vesicoureteral reflux, cost at least $75 million annually, but data on children are scarce.

"The data have broad implications for quality of care and access to care and helps to inform discussions about health care and research needs," said Urologic Diseases in America co-editor Mark S. Litwin, MD, MPH, of the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and School of Public Health.

Copies of "Urologic Diseases in America" are available at this week's AUA annual meeting. Visit the AUA Foundation booth, #2132. UDA books ($10) and CDs ($5) are also available from NIDDK's National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse: 1-800-891-5390 or (www.catalog.niddk.nih.gov); the fee is for shipping.