In the Netherlands, 25.1 billion euros were spent on the treatment of mental and behavioural disorders in 2019. This is almost a third of the total Dutch health care expenditure (87.8 billion euros), which is paid by both the government and citizens. It includes cases of dementia and people with intellectual disabilities. The second-biggest category of health care expenditure was care for cardiovascular diseases, which cost 10.2 billion euros. This was shown by RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment ’s Cost of Illness Study 2017, recently published on the websites volksgezondheidenzorg.info and statline.rivm.nl.

Compared to previous years, health care expenditure on blood diseases and immune disorders, cancer and cardiovascular diseases has risen faster than for other diagnostic groups. Because cancer and cardiovascular disease occur mainly in the elderly, the effect of ageing and the increase in life expectancy on health care expenditure is more pronounced for these diseases than for other conditions. Also, many new, relatively expensive drugs for immune disorders and cancer have come onto the market in recent years. These drugs are now widely used in the healthcare sector, increasing the cost of treatment. 

About the Cost of Illness Study

The Cost of Illness Study is performed once every four years. It provides insight into the relations between health care expenditure, health care provision and underlying disease patterns and changes in the composition of the population. In the Costs of Illness Study, the care expenditure is broken down into dimensions of care demand (age, gender, diagnosis) and care supply (sector, financing, care function). The Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport commissions the study. The implementation is carried out in close collaboration with Statistics Netherlands, which supplies data on healthcare expenditure.