LONDON, August 5, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- New research presented today shows that hospital stays for people with Bipolar Disorder cost taxpayers GBP207 million a year[i]. According to the research, sponsored by AstraZeneca, the NHS spends just 7% (GBP25 million) of the total costs for Bipolar Disorder on medicines versus 60% on hospital admissionsi. The findings of the research are important as the NHS has been told to identify GBP15-20 billion of cost savings by the end of the 2013-14 financial year.

The research was led by Professor Allan Young in collaboration with AstraZeneca. Professor Young, formerly of Newcastle University and currently of the University of British Columbia, said of the research: The main reason for hospitalisations in Bipolar Disorder is relapses suffered by patients in which they experience extreme mood changes[ii]. There is evidence to suggest that a range of available treatments for Bipolar Disorder are able to reduce the risk of patients experiencing such a relapse and thereby reduce the need for hospital stays. It is therefore possible that by optimising treatment and management strategies for Bipolar Disorder the overall cost to the NHS could be reduced.

This research is very timely as the Coalition Government has recently shown its support for a 'spend to save' approach to identify potential healthcare savings, with the Minister for Care Services, Paul Burstow, indicating in an interview that by investing in early interventions, and unlocking expenditure from investment in high cost acute services, we can actually improve services and outcomes for patients[iii]. The Government has recently suggested that reduction in the number of hospital readmissions should be a measure of care quality in the NHS, and has made a commitment to penalising hospitals that readmit patients 30 days or less after discharging them[iv].

Professor Steve Bazire, Chief Pharmacist, Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: Bipolar depression is a chronic, disabling and notoriously difficult condition to treat and antidepressants can be ineffective and risk switching the patient to the manic phase. Inadequately treating bipolar disorder can be a huge waste of NHS resources, and also leads to increased relapses, hospitalisation and deterioration. I hope the data from this study helps persuade commissioners that although newer medicine costs and interventions might appear high, the cost of poorly treated bipolar disorder is far greater.

Notes to editors

About AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business with a primary focus on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines. As a leader in gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory, inflammation, oncology and infectious disease medicines, AstraZeneca generated global revenues of US $32.8 billion in 2009. For more information please visit:



[i] Young A et al. Annual cost of managing bipolar disorder to the UK healthcare system. Poster presented at the 2010 Summer Meeting of the British Association of Psychopharmacology, Harrogate 25-28 July 2010

[ii] Fajutrao L et al. Cost-Effectiveness of Quetiapine Plus Mood Stabilizers Compared With Mood Stabilisers Alone in the Maintenance Therapy of Bipolar I Disorder: Results of a Markov Model Analysis.

J. Clin Ther 2009;31(1)1456-68

[iii] BBC Radio 4. All in the Mind. 29/06/2010. Time 21:03

[iv] My ambition for patient-centred care. Speech by the Rt Hon Andrew Lansley CBE MP, Secretary of State for Health, 8 June 2010.

SOURCE: AstraZeneca

CONTACT: For all UK healthcare and political correspondents: IsabelleJouin, AstraZeneca +44(0)1582-836-077 or Richard Buchanan Brown, Red DoorCommunications +44(0)20-8392-8040.