P1: FVI/GAV P2: FVI
Psychiatric Quarterly [psaq] PH015-294627 March 31, 2001 16:42 Style ﬁle version Nov. 19th, 1999
Psychiatric Quarterly, Vol. 72, No. 2, 2001
LITHIUM REVISITED: SAVINGS BROUGHT
ABOUT BY THE USE OF LITHIUM,
Richard Jed Wyatt, M.D., Ioline D. Henter, M.A.,
and Julian C. Jamison, Ph.D.
Background: Recent estimates of the cost of manic-depressive illness totaled
roughly $45 billion in 1991. Using data from the Epidemiological Catchment
Area (ECA) study, this study estimates the savings brought about by the use
of lithium between 1970 and 1991. Methods: Total savings are the difference
between estimated actual costs and projected costs had lithium never been in-
troduced. Actual yearly costs were interpolated from data for 1970 and 1991,
and projected costs were obtained by adjusting 1970 costs with Consumer Price
Index (CPI) and population inﬂaters. All costs for 1970 were obtained using
methods almost identical to those used to calculate the 1991 costs of manic-
depressive illness, presented in a previous publication. All savings are pre-
sented in 1991 dollars. Results: Between 1970 and 1991, lithium saved over
$170 billion, or roughly over $8 billion per year. Approximately $15 billion in
direct costs, which included inpatient and outpatient care as well as research,
was saved between 1970 and 1991. The savings are more dramatic for indirect
costs, which include the lost productivity of wage-earners, homemakers, family
The authors are afﬁliated with the National Institute of Mental Health—National
Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland. Julian Jamison is now with the Kellogg School
of Management, Northwestern University.
Address correspondence to Richard Jed Wyatt, M.D., Neuropsychiatry Branch, Na-
tional Institute of Mental Health—National Institutes of Health, 5415 W. Cedar Lane,
Suite 106B, MSC 2610, Bethesda, MD 20892.
2001 Human Sciences Press, Inc.