CITY OF INDUSTRY, Calif.--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--Prolacta Bioscience notes the recent study published in BMC Pediatrics, demonstrating increased long-term healthcare costs associated with medical necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) and even greater costs with surgical NEC in extremely premature infants, as well as the significant increase in the odds of developing long-term health conditions. The study compared the long-term healthcare costs beyond the initial hospitalization period, from six months to three years of age, incurred by medical and surgical NEC survivors with that of premature infants who were not diagnosed with NEC.
“The financial costs of NEC are significant in the short and long-term. More importantly, the consequences of this disease to the baby and family can be devastating”
NEC is an acute, dangerous intestinal disease that often leads to surgery, and sometimes even death among premature infants. Preemies who survive advanced NEC are at increased risk of having poor long-term physical and neurodevelopmental growth. Several studies have shown that there is a reduced risk of developing NEC or surgical NEC when extremely premature infants are fed an exclusive human milk diet, as opposed to preterm formula, which is made from cow milk.
The study published in BMC Pediatrics concluded that costs savings related to the avoidance of NEC or surgical NEC could be as much as $40,000 per child. Additionally, even more significant was the reduced risk of developing further health problems. The study demonstrated that within the group of preemies ages 6-12 months who were diagnosed with surgical NEC, those infants had four times greater odds of developing bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) which is a chronic lung disease, and 47 times greater odds of developing malabsorption syndrome which is the inability to absorb nutrients, vitamins, and minerals from the intestinal tract into the bloodstream. Within the group of preemies ages 24-36 months, those diagnosed with surgical NEC had more than five times greater odds of developing BPD and 62 times greater odds of developing malabsorption syndrome. Other serious conditions noted in the study resulting from NEC or surgical NEC included significant diseases such as cerebral palsy, various disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, and neurodevelopmental delays, all of which cause healthcare costs to soar.
“The financial costs of NEC are significant in the short and long-term. More importantly, the consequences of this disease to the baby and family can be devastating,” said Scott Elster, CEO of Prolacta Bioscience. “The focus of the medical community should be on prevention of this terrible disease. A completely human based diet is the most effective intervention to reduce the odds of NEC. The benefits of this treatment should be well received by families of premature infants, as well as public and private insurance providers.”
Dr. Joel Hay with the department of clinical pharmacy & pharmaceutical economics & policy, from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California led the study, which can be found online at http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2431/13/127/abstract. This publication comes on the heels of a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics last month, demonstrating that extremely premature infants who are fed an exclusive human milk diet instead of preterm formula have a significantly lower incidence of surgery-associated NEC and require fewer days of intravenous feedings by total parenteral nutrition (TPN).
Prolacta is the leader of human milk nutrition for premature infants in the NICU, and is the only company to make a human milk fortifier (HMF) from human breast milk, as opposed to cow milk. HMF is often needed to provide the added nutrition necessary for very low birth weight infants (VLBW), and especially micro preemies, in the NICU since they have extra nutritional needs above what can be provided by their mother’s milk or donor milk alone. Prolacta’s HMF, Prolact+ H2MF, can only be administered in a hospital setting by prescription and cannot be purchased directly by consumers. Please join in on the conversation about Prolacta.
About Prolacta Bioscience
Prolacta Bioscience, Inc. (www.prolacta.com) is a life science company dedicated to improving quality of life by Advancing the Science of Human Milk®. Prolacta creates specialty formulations made exclusively from human milk for the nutritional needs of critically ill, premature infants in NICU. It is the first and only company to provide a commercially available human milk fortifier made from 100% human milk, Prolact+ H2MF. Prolacta operates a pharmaceutical grade processing plant and has designed and patented processes that enable them to make their one-of-a-kind products. Prolacta is committed to making a meaningful difference in the lives of the most vulnerable premature babies through world-class research and innovative products.