Financial costs associated with treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are increasing, according to a new study from the University of British Columbia in Canada. Moreover, the study found that COPD patients spend twice as much in medical expenses as people without the lung disease.
Led by Amir Khakban, the research team analyzed data on the medical expenses of 153,570 COPD patients, compared to those of 246,801 people without the disease. They found that between 2001 and 2011 the average COPD patient spent $8,600 per year in direct medical costs; the average person without COPD spent $3,148.
When adjusted, the average excess in medical spending for COPD patients was $5,452. Between 2001 and 2011, this represented an average yearly increase of $296 per person.
The two leading cause of expense were hospital admissions and purchasing medications, which comprised 56.7% and 21.7% of annual costs respectively.
“The concerning trends observed in this study will not change without systemic and coordinated attempts that target the entire pathway of COPD care from risk factor modification to early diagnosis and better disease management,” study researchers noted in a statement.
A separate study on Chinese patients with COPD has found that quality of life correlates with increasing medical costs.
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