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Chronic pain

Department of Health Economics (DHE)

Direct costs, indirect costs and out-of-pocket expenses of chronic pain in Austria

Date: 2015-2017
Collaborator(s): Institut für Sozialmedizin, Zentrum für Public Health & Universitätsklinik für Physikalische Medizin und Rehabilitation, Medizinische Universität Wien
Information: Susanne Mayer, Judit Simon

Pain is amongst the most common and disabling health limitations in Austria, resulting not only in impaired quality of life and well-being but also in a high burden from a health economics point of view. According to the ATHIS survey (Austrian Health Interview Survey) 2006/2007, around one in three people reported suffering from pain, around one in four from chronic pain. From a societal perspective, chronic pain comes with enormous costs, both in terms of direct costs (including diagnostic and treatment) and indirect costs (due to lost productivity). In addition, for those affected, chronic pain is also linked to high out-of-pocket expenses. However, in terms of the total burden of illness, no data has been collected for Austria to date. This study aimed to estimate direct, indirect and out-of-pocket costs based on a sample of patients from two Viennese hospital outpatient departments.


  • Mayer S, Spickschen J, Stein KV, Crevenna R, Dorner TE, Simon J (2019): The societal costs of chronic pain and its determinants: the case of Austria. PLoS ONE, 14(3):e0213889. DOI:
  • Spickschen J (2017). Direkte und indirekte Kosten für Patientinnen und Patienten mit chronischen Schmerzen in Österreich. Diploma Thesis, (Supervisors: Mayer S and Dorner T).