The financial cost of COPD is very large. In 1993, it was calculated that it created annual costs of US$23.9 billion to the US economy. This included US$ 14.7 billion for direct medical costs, with the remainder representing costs resulting from morbidity and premature mortality . The direct health costs of COPD in the UK have been estimated at £846million (US$1.4 billion), accounting for 11% of all expenditure on prescription medications . Typically, the expenditure on COPD is disproportionately distributed, with approximately 10% of patients accounting for 75% of expenditure.
In the UK (figures adapted from ), a typical primary-care group caring for a population of 100 000 will have:
• 1000 diagnosed cases of COPD
• 238 annual admissions due to COPD
• 55 deaths from COPD annually (25% below aged 65)
• General practitioner consultations costing £44 000 annually
• Drug therapy costing £718 per patient per year (asthma £198).
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