The Price of Public Health

Prevention isn’t free—but it’s a lot cheaper than treatment
$ .10–$28: Cost of a dose of combined measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine
$142,452: Estimated direct cost to the public health infrastructure of containing one case of vaccine-preventable measles (2004)
$ .20–2.50: Cost of a condom
$29.7 billion: Annual federal funding for domestic and global HIV/AIDS efforts, including mandatory domestic care and treatment programs (2014)
Approximately $1.50: Additional daily cost of eating healthily instead of eating unhealthily
$245 billion: Annual cost of diagnosed diabetes in U.S. (2012), including direct medical costs and lost productivity
$2: Cost per 1,000 gallons of potable water in a Detroit home
$500+ million: Annual cost of hospitalizations in U.S. from three common waterborne diseases (Legionnaire’s, cryptosporidiosis, giardiasis)
$5: Average Cost of one malaria bed net
$12 billion per year: Estimated direct global costs of malaria (eg., illness, treatment, premature death)
$5: Average cost of insect repellent
$37.8 million: Annual financial burden inflicted on Puerto Rico by dengue fever
$5–30 Average: cost of a seasonal flu shot
$30.4 billion: Cost to U.S. employers from lost work days due to flu in 2012-2013 flu season
$12: Cost of a TB skin test
$12 billion: Annual global economic burden of TB (including lost earnings due to illness or death)
$20: LifeStraw® personal water filter
$770 million: Cost of 1991 cholera outbreak in Peru from lost trade and travel revenue
$150-200: Average cost of a seatbelt
$69 billion: Savings in medical care, lost productivity, and other injury-related costs as a result of seatbelt use in U.S. (2010)
$175: Cost of a pulmicort (steroidal inhaler) for asthma
$56 billion: Estimated annual cost of asthma in the U.S., including millions of potentially avoidable hospital visits and over 3,300 deaths, many involving patients who skimped on medicines or did without
$183; $366-$410: Program costs (including pharmacotherapy, counseling, and outreach) and net annual savings per Medicaid participant for a comprehensive tobacco-cessation program implemented by the state of Massachusetts in 2007-2009
$289 billion: Annual costs attributable to smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke in U.S. (at least $130 billion direct medical costs; more than $150 billion productivity losses)
$1,185: Average cost of a colonoscopy in the U.S. (2013)
$24,000–40,000: Lifetime treatment costs for colorectal cancer in average-risk adults in U.S. (2011)
$1,700: One complete hazmat suit
$10,000–$100,000+: Average cost (including safety shower, ambulance transport, hospitalization, and potential long-term care) to treat a chemical exposure
Source: Gregory Bond, PhD ’85, MPH ’79, Principal, Manitou View Consulting LLC
$2,000: Average cost of prenatal care throughout a typical pregnancy
$26 billion: Estimated total annual economic costs of preterm births in U.S. (2008)
$3.3 million: Cost of 5-year federally funded study by U-M KECC on Medicare payments for dialysis, medications, and tests
$225 million: Annual savings to Medicare from implementation of new dialysis-payment system introduced in 2011 at recommendation of U-M KECC
Source: Richard A. Hirth, Professor and Associate Chair, U-M SPH Department of Health Management and Policy; Associate Director, U-M Kidney Epidemiology and Cost Center (KECC)
$26 million: Annual amount spent on public policy by Planned Parenthood (2012–2013)
$9.4 billion: Annual cost of teen pregnancies to U.S taxpayers (2011)
$50 million: Annual federal contribution to EPA Emergency Fund for oil-spill planning and support functions
$1 billion and counting: Cost of Enbridge Kalamazoo oil-spill cleanup (2010–present)
$300 million: World Health Organization smallpox eradication campaign (1967–1980)
Over $1 billion: Annual savings from WHO’s smallpox eradication campaign
$1.019 billion: Annual U.S. Department of Agriculture food safety budget (2014)
$14.6–16.3 billion: Annual cost of U.S. illnesses and deaths caused by the 14 major foodborne pathogens (2012)
$5.5 billion: Cost to implement the Global Polio Eradication Initiative’s (GPEI) Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan, 2013–2018
$25 billion: Expected net benefits over next 20 years from implementation of GPEI’s Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan
$9.6 billion: Annual cost to implement EPA Mercury and Air Toxic Standards (MATS), which helps prevent an estimated 540,000 asthma attacks per year
$150–380 billion: Estimated annual health care savings from implementation of EPA MATS