The health-related social costs of alcohol in Belgium

Nick Verhaeghe, Delfine Lievens, Lieven Annemans, Freya Vander Laenen, Koen Putman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Alcohol is associated with adverse health effects causing a considerable economic impact to society. A reliable estimate of this economic impact for Belgium is lacking. This is the aim of the study.

Methods: A prevalence-based approach estimating the direct, indirect and intangible costs for the year 2012 was used. Attributional fractions for a series of health effects were derived from literature. The human capital approach was used to estimate indirect costs, while the concept of disability-adjusted life years was used to estimate intangible costs. Sensitivity and scenario analyses were conducted to assess the uncertainty around cost estimates and to evaluate the impact of alternative modelling assumptions.

Results: In 2012, total alcohol-attributable direct costs were estimated at is an element of 906.1 million, of which the majority were due to hospitalization (is an element of 743.7 million, 82%). The indirect costs amounted to is an element of 642.6 million, of which 62% was caused by premature mortality. Alcohol was responsible for 157,500 disability-adjusted life years representing is an element of 6.3 billion intangible costs.

Conclusions: Despite a number of limitations intrinsic to this kind of research, the study can be considered as the most comprehensive analysis thus far of the health-related social costs of alcohol in Belgium.
Original languageEnglish
Article number958
Number of pages11
JournalBMC Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2017


  • Alcohol
  • Belgium
  • Cost-of-illness
  • Health
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Hospitalization/economics
  • Prevalence
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Cost of Illness
  • Male
  • Disabled Persons/statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult
  • Mortality, Premature
  • Belgium/epidemiology
  • Health Surveys
  • Adolescent
  • Health Care Costs/statistics & numerical data
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking/economics


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