The societal cost of allergic disease is considerable, mainly because of the high prevalence of allergic rhinoconjunctivitis and the associated loss of productivity. A Swedish study estimated the cost of lost productivity caused by rhinitis at EUR 2.7 billion per year in Sweden, and an American study established rhinitis as the most costly disease for American employers.
Allergy immunotherapy implies treatment over at least a three-year period, but as the objective of the treatment is induction of immunological tolerance, the effect might persist several years thereafter. This aspect of disease modification has been demonstrated clinically for only a few products. Where such data are available, the total healthcare cost of the treatment could be regarded as an investment, with returns in the form of cost savings over the following years because of disease modification.
Theoretically, the societal benefit of allergen immunotherapy is associated with cost savings caused by decreased consumption of pharmacological products, fewer visits to general practitioners and specialists, as well as incurred productivity gains. In addition, disease modification potentially leads to a reduced risk of developing asthma, which is of societal benefit because of the costs associated with the more severe disease in patients with asthma patients. Both SCIT and SLIT tablets are cost effective, with the latter being so in both Northern and Southern European countries.
Larsen J N et al. Allergy immunotherapy: the future of allergy treatment[J]. Drug discovery today, 2016, 21(1): 26-37.