Pre-conference: Approaches and methods for cost of illness studies: national and international experiences

Wednesday 8 November, 9:00 – 12:30 Dublin time (followed by network lunch)

Organised by:

EUPHA Public Health Economics section, in collaboration with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)


Estimating the economic burden of diseases, also referred as the cost of illness, gives an additional indication of the impact that each disease has on society and can inform health systems and policies in the identification of priorities. Economic evaluation is useful for financial and epidemiological purposes but mainly for resources allocation and decision making, setting up priorities in the health reimbursements and investments. Many efforts have been made to estimate the economic burden of specific diseases but comprehensive national or international projects for estimating such burdens are much rarer. There are several methodological options, but the main methods can be divided in (1) top-down (macro perspective) and (2) bottom-up (micro perspective) approaches.

International cooperation is helpful to dilute the methodological difficulties faced, starting from quality and availability of data, and encourage the first step forward for public health research institutes. Networks of researchers, like EUPHA, can help to focus the effort on specific methodological question and issues, as well as advertising the positive and successful experiences of health economic evaluation in the EU.

Within the pre-conference different international examples of cost-of-illness studies will be presented each of them using a different methodological approach. The comparison of the methods will be done through a panel discussion guided by the moderators. The aim is to allow participants to evaluate the pros and cons of each method. In addition, the audience will be able to interact with participants during the discussion.


9:00-9:15 Welcome and opening (EUPHA-ECO)
9:15-9:30 Introduction on what is cost-of-illness (EUPHA-ECO)

Introduction of different methodological approaches by institute (each 20 min)

- OECD (microsimulation)

- RIVM (top-down COI study)

- Sciensano (causal inference)
10:30-11:00 Coffee break
11:00-11:45 Panel discussion (structured question-answer session)
11:45-12:20 Q&A from participants
12:20-12:30 Wrap up and key messages (EUPHA-ECO)


  • João Vasco Santos, President EUPHA Public health economics section; ARS Norte, University of Porto (Portugal)
  • Vanessa Gorasso, Vice-President, EUPHA Public health economics section; Sciensano (Belgium)


The registration fee is € 75 which includes networking lunch and refreshments.