• This discussion paper is one of a series prepared by the Institute as an offshoot to the Macro Economic Evaluation Project. Others in the series include The cost of diet-related disease in Australia, and Disease costs of syphilis and tuberculosis in Australia. The papers suggest an approach to developing health promotion priorities that takes into account the public health significance of particular conditions; the preventability of these conditions; and the efficiency of specific initiatives aimed at realising the potential for prevention.
  • Total costs for hepatitis B (excluding chronic sequelae) were estimated to be $46.7 million in 1989-90. This is comprised of $40.7 million for the direct cost of treatment and prevention; $1.1 million in morbidity costs (measured as the value of forgone earnings); and $4.9 million in mortality costs (measured as the value of forgone earnings due to 38 premature deaths).
  • The chronic sequelae of hepatitis B, viz hepatic cancer and cirrhosis, cost $27.8 million in total. Total direct costs for these sequelae for hospitals and nursing homes were $3.5 million; indirect costs were $1.2 million for morbidity and $22.3 million for premature mortality. The total health bill for hepatitis Band its chronic sequelae amounted to $74.5 million, comprising $45.1 million for direct and $29.4 million for indirect costs. The estimates may be considered lower limits of the true costs to society of these diseases in Australia.