The real cost of hangovers

Considering how much hangovers cost countries and companies, not to mention the pain people suffer, you would think someone would have come up with a cure by now. But so far, no luck, though it’s not for want of trying.

Numerous age-old remedies and commercial products are available — everything from herbal potions to IV drips — and they are all put to good use during the holiday season. But, do they work? And what is the cost to employers of all that recovery downtime?

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that excessive drinking costs the US economy more than $220bn annually — or about $1.90 a drink. Some 72% of the costs stem from lost workplace productivity, the CDC said.

The problem goes beyond the US. In Australia, sick days will cost up to A$2bn ($1.6bn) in lost productivity in the last two weeks of the year, with some 10% of the workers polled planning to take up to three sick days off to recover from their celebrations, according to a survey of 1,000 workers by Recoverlyte, an effervescent powder made by Sanofi-Aventis Healthcare Pty to “help your body recover from a late night out.” Of those who did make it to work the day after an office Christmas party, more than a quarter conceded they were functioning at only 50% productivity.