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COPD. 2006 Dec;3(4):211-8.

Assessment of the economic burden of COPD in the U.S.: a review and synthesis of the literature.

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  • 1Boston Health Economics, Inc., 20 Fox Road, Waltham, MA 02451, USA.


The costs of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) pose a major economic burden to the United States. Studies evaluating COPD costs have generated widely variable estimates; we summarized and critically compared recent estimates of the annual national and per-patient costs of COPD in the U.S. Thirteen articles reporting comprehensive estimates of the direct costs of COPD (costs related to the provision of medical goods and services) were identified from searches of relevant primary literature published since 1995. Few papers reported indirect costs of COPD (lost work and productivity). The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) provides the single current estimate of the total (direct plus indirect) annual cost of COPD to the U.S., $38.8 billion in 2005 dollars. More than half of this cost ($21.8 billion) was direct, aligning with the $20-26 billion range reported by two other recent analyses of large national datasets. For per-patient direct costs (in $US 2005), studies using recent data yield attributable cost estimates (costs deemed to be related to COPD) in the range of $2,700-$5,900 annually, and excess cost estimates (total costs incurred by COPD patients minus total costs incurred by non-COPD patients) in the range of $6,100-$6,600 annually. Studies of both national and per-patient costs that use data approximately 8-10 years old or older have produced estimates that tend to deviate from these ranges. Cost-of-illness studies using recent data underscore the substantial current cost burden of COPD in the U.S.

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