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17.02.2022 09:11

WifOR study in Journal of Medical Economics: Omalizumab can reduce the burden of Pollinosis by USD 728 million in Japan

Katja Wies Kommunikation

    Itchy eyes, sneezing, and sinus pressure: Allergic Rhinitis (AR), caused by specific pollen antigens, is one of the most common chronic allergic respiratory diseases worldwide. In 2019, 38.8 percent of the entire Japanese population was affected by AR caused by Japanese cedar pollen. Inadequately controlled symptoms not only limit the quality of life of those affected but also lead to major economic losses. The results of a recently published WifOR study show that the humanized monoclonal anti-immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibody Omalizumab can significantly lower this burden.

    “Omalizumab has the potential to reduce paid and unpaid work productivity losses for approximately 37 million hours in an assumed population of 1.5 million patients with severe forms of Japanese cedar pollinosis (JCP). For one patient, this translates into 24.6 hours without any symptoms during the severe JCP symptom period of three weeks”, says Prof. Dr. Dennis Ostwald, WifOR CEO and Head of Health Economics. “This corresponds to 22 million paid and 15 million unpaid working hours per year and a potentially avoided productivity loss of USD 728 million – USD 490 per patient.” 

    The study, “The impact of omalizumab on paid and unpaid work productivity among severe Japanese cedar pollinosis (JCP) patients”, was published in the February 2022 edition of the renowned “Journal of Medical Economics”. 

    About the Social Impact approach:

    The Social Impact of medical innovations quantifies and monetizes the productivity losses of paid and unpaid work that might be avoided due to a medicine. For example, an Allergic Rhinitis medication can enable chronically ill patients to continue to work and pursue their daily activities. In addition to paid work, the potential for value creation resulting from unpaid work is considered. WifOR thus measures holistically the benefit for society of these innovations in terms of health and productivity effects.

    About the Method:

    The impact of Omalizumab was estimated through a one-year static cohort model using the Work Productivity and Activity Impairment Allergy Specific (WPAI-AS) questionnaire derived from a clinical trial on Omalizumab enrolling patients with severe and most severe JCP symptoms, which had been conducted in Japan. This effect was quantified using Japanese official statistics on employment and time use. The human capital approach as well as the proxy good approach were employed to monetize paid and unpaid work activities, respectively. Additionally, a sensitivity analysis was implemented to account for modeling structural uncertainties.

    About WifOR:  

    The WifOR Institute was founded in 2009 as an independent economic research institute. WifOR is located in five countries across seven locations – Berlin, Darmstadt, Leipzig (Germany), Athens (Greece) and has representations in Latin America, Ireland, and the USA. WifOR's fields of research encompass Health Economics, Impact Analysis, and International Social Policy. Key research topics include impact valuation, health, sustainability, global value chains, digitalization, education, and employment. We focus on empirical analysis and strive to translate macroeconomic data into a business context.

    Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

    Malina Müller  
    Team Lead Health Economics  


    Mueller, M., Ataru, I., Hashiguchi, K., Kappel, M., Paolini, F., Yoshisue, H., Funakubo, M., Sharma, H. & Okano, M. (2022). The Burden of Japanese Cedar Pollinosis in Japan and the Social Impact of Omalizumab. Journal of Medical Economics. 25(1), 220-229. DOI:

    Weitere Informationen: - Learn more about how to quantify the Social Impact of medical innovations here.


    Key input parameters for modelling the Social Impact of Omalizumab
    Key input parameters for modelling the Social Impact of Omalizumab

    WifOR Institute

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    Key input parameters for modelling the Social Impact of Omalizumab

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