Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the economic burden from a societal perspective and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) in Bulgaria.
Materials and methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study of 33 patients with CF and 17 caregivers from Bulgaria. Data on socio-demographic characteristics, health resource utilisation, informal care, labor productivity losses and HRQOL were collected from questionnaires completed by patients or their caregivers. HRQOL was evaluated with the EuroQol 5-domain (EQ-5D-3L) questionnaire.
Results: Median annual costs of CF in Bulgaria were € 24 152 per patient in 2012 as a reference year. Median annual costs for children were found to be significantly higher than those for adults – € 31 945 vs. € 15 714 (p = 0.012). This outcome came from statistically significant differences in costs for main informal carer (p < 0.001) and costs for other informal carers (p = 0.022). As a single cost item, drugs had the biggest monetary impact. Median annual drug costs were € 13 059. Bulgarian CF patients showed low HRQOL results – 50 median VAS score and 0.592 median health utilities. A quarter of patients even rated their health state as worse than death.
Conclusion: CF patients from Eastern Europe remain a vulnerable population with risk factors for worse health outcomes. Our study provided a state-of-the art analysis that facilitates the elaboration, adoption and application of targeted public health policies to tackle CF-related problems at national and European level.