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New Data Estimate Migraine Headaches Cost U.S. Employers more than $24 Billion Annually


Los Angeles, Calif., 06/27/2006, According to new data presented at the 48th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society, migraine headaches cost American employers more than $24 billion a year in direct and indirect healthcare costs.

Thomson Medstat, a business of The Thomson Corporation (NYSE: TOC; TSX: TOC), conducted two studies analyzing the direct and indirect costs of migraine headaches among large U.S. employers. Sponsored by Ortho-McNeil Neurologics, Inc., the studies concluded that direct healthcare costs to American employers — including prescription drugs and in-patient, out-patient, and emergency room care — total approximately $12.7 billion annually. Indirect costs associated with migraine — including absenteeism, short-term disability, and workers’ compensation — total $12 billion annually.

“We used the most recent data and advanced analytic tools to re-calculate the financial burden employers incur each year as a result of migraine headaches,” said Stacey Long, a director of research at Thomson Medstat. “Our research uncovered a higher financial burden than previously estimated. The total would be even greater if it included the additional costs associated with presenteeism, which is lost productivity that employees with migraines experience while on the job.”

Direct Costs

Using the Thomson Medstat MarketScan® database, researchers analyzed 2004 medical claims data for 52 large U.S. employers — representing 220,140 migraine sufferers and 1.1 million employees without migraines. They calculated a national “burden of illness” estimate which concluded that the cost of direct medical care for employees with migraine headaches was approximately $12.7 billion annually. The direct costs associated with migraine sufferers averaged $4,436 per employee annually — $2,571 more than employees who do not suffer migraines.

Outpatient care ($6.2 billion) ranked as the number one direct cost contributor among employees with migraines, followed by prescription drugs ($5.2 billion), inpatient care ($0.8 billion) and emergency room visits ($0.5 billion).

Indirect Costs

Using the Thomson Medstat health information database, researchers analyzed absence, short-term disability, and workers’ compensation data for 10 large employers during 2002 and 2003. Based on data for 32,886 employees without migraines and 5,143 employees with migraines, the study found that the total indirect cost burden borne by U.S. employers was approximately $12 billion annually. The indirect costs associated with migraine sufferers averaged $4,453 per employee annually — $2,834 more than employees without migraines.

Absenteeism ($9.66 billion) ranked as the number one indirect cost contributor among employees with migraines, followed by short-term disability ($1.55 billion) and workers’ compensation ($0.78 billion).

Approximately 12 percent of the U.S. population (nearly 30 million people) suffers from migraine, an illness characterized by a variety of symptoms, including sharp throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head, nausea or vomiting, visual disturbances and sensitivity to noise and light. Migraine is a chronic condition that often results in lost productivity and significant disruptions to migraine sufferers’ work and personal lives. Migraine generally affects women three times more than men, particularly women between the ages of 25 and 55.

About The Thomson Corporation

The Thomson Corporation ( ), with 2005 revenues of approximately $8.5 billion, is a global leader in providing integrated information solutions to business and professional customers. Thomson provides value-added information, software tools and applications to more than 20 million users in the fields of law, tax, accounting, financial services, higher education, reference information, corporate e-learning and assessment, scientific research and healthcare. With operational headquarters in Stamford, Conn., Thomson has approximately 40,500 employees and provides services in approximately 130 countries. The Corporation’s common shares are listed on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges (NYSE: TOC; TSX: TOC). Thomson Medstat ( solutions – including business intelligence and benchmark databases, decision support solutions, and research services – help employers, government agencies, health plans, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies manage the cost and quality of healthcare.


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