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Influenza epidemic – monthly costs may exceed PLN 500 million

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Influenza is a burden for patients, companies and the economy – emphasized “Rzeczpospolita”. The newspaper estimated that the costs of the flu epidemic “may exceed PLN 500 million per month”.

“For eight days in January, over 306.6 thousand people fell ill or were suspected of influenza. In December, it was almost 1.25 million people. Data from this week will be reliable to determine at what stage of the epidemic we are currently – believes the Ministry of Health It will be possible to determine whether the peak of the disease is behind us and was – as specialists suppose – at the turn of the year, or it may only take place at the turn of February and March, “wrote Rzeczpospolita.

Influenza epidemic – costs

The newspaper stressed that “this is important not only for potential patients, but also for companies and the economy”, because “every patient whose disease is recorded in the data of the National Institute of Public Health – PZH probably bought medicines”, and “adults got sick leaves for themselves and for sick children.

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“Some people benefited from the help of private health care. These are the direct costs of the epidemic, which are the easiest to estimate, but there are also indirect costs: new organization of work in companies, finding a replacement or reduced productivity of people who work despite the disease. Based on data on the number of patients in the first week of January, we estimated the possible costs of the epidemic, which could range from PLN 131 to PLN 162 million at that time.

– Four medicines: for a runny nose, cough, fever and sore throat, it costs about PLN 80. Patients buy medicines that they lack, they do not save on them – journalists from “Rzeczpospolita” heard in one of the pharmacies in Dynów, Podkarpacie.

“They pay out-of-pocket because most of these drugs are not reimbursed by the government National Health Fund. The same applies to steroids if there are complications with breathing (cost about PLN 70). Another PLN 30 should be spent on the antibiotic (they are already reimbursed). Weekly expenditure on medicines can be estimated from a dozen to almost PLN 46 million. It is probably a higher amount, because some people bought medicines, but did not go to the doctor and did not take sick leave.

Employees get sick, costs count losses

The daily noted that “the disease is an additional cost for companies and for ZUS“. “The average person with the flu stays home for a week. We assumed that every fifth – twice as long. Each working person receives remuneration from the employer or sickness benefit from ZUS for the time of illness. The average sickness benefit is approx. PLN 107 per day. Not all of the more than 160,000 of sick adults are employees, but many parents also stayed at home to care for their children. So we assumed that all adults received the exemption (the cost is about PLN 100 million) “- added “Rz”.

She added that “the epidemic also means reduced work efficiency of those who work with the flu, the need for a different work organization, e.g. finding a replacement.” “Assuming that companies have found temporary workers to replace every 20th person on leave, this means an additional cost of over PLN 16 million per week” – the newspaper indicated.

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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