A Model for Estimating the Economic Impact of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder
J Popul Ther Clin Pharmacol Vol 19(1):e51-e65; February 25, 2012
Original Research
Svetlana Popova, Brenda Stade, Shannon Lange, J├╝rgen Rehm


Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is a group of disorders with lifelong disabilities that require a large amount of support from various services including health, community, remedial education, and many others. Thus, FASD has a huge economic and societal impact.

To develop a sound methodology for calculating a comprehensive, evidence-based picture of the economic impact of FASD for Canada.


The economic model was developed within the framework of the revised International Guidelines for Estimating the Costs of Substance Abuse. In addition, the Guidelines generated during the first national Roundtable held by the Public Health Agency of Canada were employed. The methodologies of the few existing studies on the economic cost of FASD from Canada and USA were also considered. 


A new and comprehensive methodology for estimating of the economic impact of FASD is presented. The model includes the direct and indirect costs associated with the experiences of those affected by FASD, as well as those of their families/caregivers during multiple life/developmental stages. Preliminary cost estimates for the main cost drivers for Canada are presented.


The developed methodology is appropriate for use in Canada, and has the potential to be used by other countries. The challenges associated with implementing the economic model and estimating the economic costs of FASD are discussed, as are the levels of analysis.

Key Words: Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD); fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS); economic cost; methodology

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