Publication Date



Summary: This report describes the epidemiology, economic burden and treatment of osteoporosis in Switzerland. Introduction: Osteoporosis is characterized by reduced bone mass and disruption of bone architecture, resulting in increased risks of fragility fractures which represent the main clinical consequence of the disease. Fragility fractures are associated with substantial pain and suffering, disability and even death for the affected patients and substantial costs to society. The aim of this report is to describe the epidemiology and economic burden of fragility fractures as a consequence of osteoporosis in Switzerland, as a detailed addition to the report for the European Union (EU27): “Osteoporosis in the European Union: Medical Management, Epidemiology and Economic Burden”. Methods: The literature on fracture incidence and costs of fractures in Switzerland was reviewed and incorporated into a model estimating the clinical and economic burden of osteoporotic fractures in 2010. Furthermore, data on sales of osteoporosis treatments and the population at high risk of fracture were used to estimate treatment uptake and treatment gap. Results: It was estimated that approximately 74,000 new fragility fractures were sustained in Switzerland in 2010, comprising 14,000 hip fractures, 11,000 vertebral fractures, 13,000 forearm fractures and 36,000 other fractures (i.e. fractures of the pelvis, rib, humerus, tibia, fibula, clavicle, scapula, sternum and other femoral fractures). The economic burden of incident and previous fragility fractures was estimated at CHF 2,050 million for the same year. Incident fractures represented 76 % of this cost, long-term fracture care 21 % and pharmacological prevention 3 %. Previous and incident fractures also accounted for 24,000 quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) lost during 2010. When accounting for the demographic projections for 2025, the number of incident fractures was estimated at 98,786 in 2025, representing an increase of 25,000 fractures. Hip, clinical vertebral (spine), forearm and other fractures were estimated to increase by 4,900, 3,200, 3,500 and 13,000, respectively. The burden of fractures in terms of costs (excluding value of QALYs lost) in Switzerland in 2025 was estimated to increase by 29 % to CHF 2,642 million. Though the uptake of osteoporosis treatments increased from 2001, the proportion of patients aged 50 or above who received treatment remained at low levels in the past few years. The majority of women at high fracture risk do not receive active treatment. Conclusions: In spite of the high cost of osteoporosis, a substantial treatment gap and projected increase of the economic burden driven by an aging population, the use of pharmacological prevention of osteoporosis is significantly less than optimal, suggesting that a change in health care policy concerning the disease is warranted.


Institute for Health and Ageing

Document Type

Journal Article

Access Rights

ERA Access

Access may be restricted.