Multiple Myeloma in Portugal: Burden of Disease and Cost of Illness


Background: Multiple myeloma (MM) is the second most common hematological cancer worldwide and has significant morbidity and mortality and is increasing in incidence. While MM management costs are considerable, specific economic data at the country level remain scarce.

Objective: This study assesses the burden and cost of MM in Portugal from the perspective of the National Health Service (NHS) to support the definition of health policies, resource allocation and patient care.

Methods: Developed by the Portuguese Multiple Myeloma Group, this study considers the most recent available data. Burden of disease was measured using disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs). The cost of MM was estimated using a prevalence-based model that estimated direct costs for the NHS considering all costs associated with diagnosis, hospitalizations, surgeries, emergency visits, medical appointments, drugs and transportation. Costs were quantified based on the diagnosis-related group funding price, except for drug usage, which was calculated using the average hospital product stock price.

Results: The burden of disease attributable to MM for 2018 was estimated at 8931 DALYs: 8570 resulting from premature deaths and 361 from disability. Average yearly direct costs per patients with MM amounted to €31,449 (year 2018 values). Total direct costs are estimated at €61 million per year.

Conclusions: The mortality rate in MM means that most DALYs are due to years of life lost rather than years lost due to disability. This study generates comprehensive data on the burden and cost of MM in Portugal and provides updated insights into the costs associated with the management of MM.