Migraines create a $1bn headache for employers in Singapore

Being work-driven, goal-orientated, spending longer hours at work and stress are major triggers, according to medical experts.
By: | September 26, 2019

Migraine sufferers racked up around $1 billion in economic losses in Singapore last year. Productivity losses made up 80% of the cost, with the remaining 20% attributed to healthcare costs, including medical tests and consultations.

When a worker experiences a migraine, defined as a chronic headache, it led to an average of 9.8 work days lost a year. For those who continued working, the symptoms greatly reduced their ability to perform tasks, amounting to a productivity loss of 7.4 days each year.

The study was carried out among more than 600 full-time Singapore workers who suffered from migraines, by Duke-NUS Medical School and the pharmaceutical company Novartis.

The study, Economic Burden of Migraine in Singapore, found that most sufferers were in managerial positions (60%), with the remaining in clerical jobs, semi-skilled or self-employed.

Dr Jonathan Ong from the National University Hospital (NUH) said: “It is not surprising because we are increasingly living in a stressful environment, being an Asian country – we’re very work-driven, goal-orientated, spending longer hours at work, and stress is a major trigger for migraines.”