A new international study published in the journal Gastroenterology sheds light on the extensive economic burden of celiac disease. In addition to the cost of gluten-free  foods, the authors address several economic issues associated with celiac disease, including direct costs like healthcare services and medical management, as well as indirect costs such as reduced work productivity and missed educational opportunities. This compelling review underscores the need for broader awareness and policy adjustments to address the multifaceted societal impact of celiac disease on patients and healthcare systems globally.  

This review was conducted by international experts including Soran R. Bozorg (Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Solna, Sweden; Division of Gastroenterology, Karolinska University Hospital, Solna, Sweden; Anne Lee (Celiac Disease Center, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, New York), Karl Mårild (Department of Pediatrics, Institute of Clinical Sciences, Sahlgrenska Academy, Gothenburg, Sweden; Department of Pediatrics, Queen Silvia Children’s Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden) and Joseph Murray (Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota). 

As previous studies have shown, gluten-free cereals, pasta, and snacks in the United States can be up to 139% more expensive than their gluten-containing counterparts. In addition, the authors point out that naturally gluten-free  foods in the United States are also expensive. Unlike countries where gluten-free foods can be obtained through prescriptions or monthly stipends, the United States only provides a tax deduction for the increased cost of gluten-free foods only if these costs exceed 7.5% of the individual’s adjusted gross income. This is a complicated and burdensome process for patients. 

The Celiac Disease Foundation is committed to reducing the burden for individuals with celiac disease. Through our School Support Sessions, we aim to improve outcomes for school aged children with celiac disease so that they can thrive academically and avoid missed school days or poor performance related to their celiac disease. We also support numerous public policy initiatives at the local, state, and federal level. Learn more about our policy efforts and how to get involved here.   

The Celiac Disease Foundation also supports and advocates for research towards treatments for celiac disease beyond the gluten-free diet. As the authors of this study mention, potential drug therapies for celiac disease are highly anticipated and have the potential to reduce overall healthcare costs, reduce absenteeism and caregiver burden, and improve quality of life. If you want to learn more about how to support these efforts, visit the iCureCeliac® page to learn more.  

Read the full study here.