National Drug Strategy
National Drug Strategy

Intergovernmental committee on Drugs working party on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders


Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders in Australia: An Update

June 2012

10.3 Data to be collected

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Applied Economics reports on the unit costs for services used by persons with FASD and their carers in Australia relating to the year 2005-06 for each State and Territory for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous persons (Applied Economics 2005; Applied Economics 2008). However, data on the total number of people with FASD by level of severity are not available. Nor are there data on the service frequency for individuals in each age cohort.

To estimate the true costs of FASD, it remains necessary to estimate the prevalence of FASD by levels of severity and the volume of services provided by governments to people with FASD as well as the private costs of FASD. Collection of data on the prevalence of FASD in
any year in each State and Territory would probably have to be based on estimates or opinions of experts in the field in each jurisdiction.

Data on the frequency of service use could be collected by conducting a survey by way of a series of focus groups with samples of parents/carers to obtain information about their actual service use experience.

Table 10.1: Summary of international studies estimating the of the costs of FASD

StudyPublication YearPricesEstimated incidenceHealth care costs till age:Residential Care and support till age:Lost productivityDisability years / QALYsOther social problemsAnnual cost
Annual cost per caseConstant cost of 65 yearsNPV @ 3 Percent p.a. discount
FAS annual cost studies
A. Abel & Sokola1991aUS$20022/10002165bNNN4.75 bnc9,058589,000278,000
B. Abel & Sokola1987US$20022/10002165bNNN3.60 bnc6,865446,000210,000
C. Abel & Sokola1991bUS$20022/10002165 bNNN2.3 bnc4,386285,000134,000
D. Ricea1990US$20022/10002165 bNNN3.6 bnc6,865446,000210,000
E. Harwooda1984US$20022/10006565NNN11.1 bnc21,1671,376,000649,000
F. Harwooda1998US$20022/10002165NNN5.95 bnc11,346738,000348,000
G . Klug & Burdd2003US$200321NNNN2,342
FASD annual cost study
H. Stade et al.2006Cn$20063/10002121for carerNN0.34 bn14,342753,000^348,000
FAS lifetime cost studies
I. Harwood & Napolitanoa1985US$20026565YNN2,000,000942,000
J. Weeksa1989US$20026565NNN2,900,0001,367,000

(a) Lupton et al. adjusted for incidence, residential care and productivity as described in the text. Refers Harwood and Napolitano 7,8
(b) These include only residential costs for mental retardation. They exclude semi-residential care and care for moderate severity.
(c) As quoted in Lupton et al.
(d) This study includes medical costs only and is based on ages up to 21 years. Basic costs for normal cases are subtracted.
^ Refers to Canadian Dollars (CA$). Remainder refer to US Dollars (US$).

Key Points

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